How to lose weight fast using Maths!!

Hi Everyone,

So if you are like me, or in fact any normal human being, you will have at one time or another wanted to lose some weight. How important that is to you will to a large extent depend on just how overweight you believe you are, and what your end goal is.

So you want to lose weight…….then what? How, over what period, in what way? Does this mean you’ve got to go on a diet? And if so which one, there are literally hundreds of them.

Now at this point I’m going to own up to being something of a hypocrite. I have written articles before (see here) where I have attacked diets and said that they don’t work. For me that still holds true. Rather than going ON A DIET I would advocate adopting a long term healthy eating plan that you can maintain AND that also allows you to eat some of the things you enjoy and have a blow out now and then whilst still controlling your weight.

However, that is not to say that you can’t adopt a plan to lose weight when necessary and this article is purely about the mechanics of how to do that. The subject has become almost fiendishly complicated in many peoples minds and my aim is to simplify it as much as possible. Low carb? Low Fat? High Protein? Which is the right path? Most people become so confused and frustrated they just revert back to their normal eating habits and never achieve the results they want.

So lets start with the basics….Calories. You’ve all heard of those right, your dreaded enemy in the battle with the scales. Well not really, a Calorie is just a calorie, it’s neutral. It’s how many and what you do with them that counts.

Calories and what to do with them.

A calorie is simply a measure of energy, heat energy to be precise. Food releases energy as it burns inside the body, so the more calories something contains, the more energy it releases. Body fat is essentially stored energy. So if you don’t use up the energy (Calories) that you eat, your body will store them as fat for future use (or not). Here is the first Maths fact. Each pound of Fat contains 3500 Calories. So in simple terms if you eat 3500 calories more than you use in a week, you will gain roughly a pound of fat.

Essentially you can think of your body as a bank account and Calories as money. If you use/spend the exact amount you put in the account you will remain level. If you put in more than you use your balance will go up (gain fat), and if you use more than you put in your balance will go down (one of the few times its good to spend too much).

To some extent it really is as simple as that. Use more Calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight. From a purely weight loss/gain point of view it also doesn’t really matter where those calories come from ie whether it is healthy or completely unhealthy food, the result will be the same. However not all calories are created equal and clearly from a health, nutritional, muscular, vascular and overall wellbeing perspective its good to eat as healthily as possible and get your calories from good sources.  Don’t just eat rubbish.

So, here is the key part. How do you work out exactly how many calories you use and how many you should be eating to obtain your goals.

This is where it becomes slightly more difficult, but keep reading and I’ll make it as simple as possible. Each persons metabolism (the speed and rate at which it burns calories) will vary slightly and is affected by how much and what type of activity and exercise you do. It also varies slightly from men to women. Roughly speaking however, these figures will work.

First you need to work out your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the rate that if you laid in bed all day and did very little you would burn calories. Essentially its your maintenance rate each day.

Do this calculation: 66+ (6.3 x your weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years). So to use me as an example:  (6.3 x 168lb) + (12.9 x 68) – (6.8 x 48) = 1675. So my BMR is 1675. You then have to factor in just how active you are. Do you sit at a desk all day and do no exercise, or do you work as a labourer and go to the gym?

Sedentary – desk job, very little exercise. Multiply BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active – Workout or do some activity 1-3 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.325

Moderately Active – workout 3-5 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.55

Very Active – workout 6-7 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.725

Extremely Active – workout everyday in addition to a physically demanding job (rare). Multiply BMR x 1.9.

So again using me as an example. I am probably between moderately active as i workout 5 days a week but do a sedentary job, so i took a figure of 1.55. 1675 x 1.55 = 2596.25. So for me my Total daily expenditure of Calories living the lifestyle i do is 2596 per day or 18,173.75 calories a week.

Remember i said earlier that 3500 Calories = 1lb of fat. So very simply if i cut my calories intake by 3500 to 14,673 per week or 2096 per day, then i should lose a pound of fat per week. For most people it is sensible to cut your calorie intake by 15/20% (in my example it was 19%.

It really is as simple as that. Get a calculator, work out what your Base Metabolic rate is. Multiply that (be honest now) by your activity levels, cut 15/20% off of that figure and hey presto you will lose weight.

Of course what that means is that you do need to count calories fairly carefully. Nowadays most things are labelled so it’s not that hard. It also means you are allowed to have some good days and bad days as long as you achieve your overall target each week. It also means that whilst it is best to get your calories from non processed, healthy and natural products ( fish, meat , poultry, vegetables, healthy fats etc), you are allowed to be naughty now and then and hit the ice cream, as long as you meet your weekly target.

Throw in some intensive exercise and you WILL achieve your targets. I’d also add that if you are heavily overweight and you are currently eating way over your total daily calorie expenditure then you will find that if you get your calorie levels to where they should be, then initially at least the 1lb per week barrier is conservative. You may find that for the first few weeks you lose 2lb or even more.

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve kept this on a very simple level. There is a lot more detail to be covered in terms of exactly HOW you should eat and WHAT you should eat. Specifically there is the complex topic of Protein, Fats and Carbs and if you really want to get into some detail, Macro levels and how to eat to build or maintain muscle. However, I’ll do an article on that in the next couple of weeks. For now lets keep it simple.

Work out your daily calorie rate to maintain your current lifestyle and activity levels using the formula I’ve given you. Knock off 15/20%. Eat as healthily as possible, treat yourself now and then (this is Ordinary Guy Fitness after all) and exercise regularly. Follow these simple numbers and the fat loss will come and weight loss will follow.

Take Care,

John

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How Eggs can help you lose Flab!!

Hi Everyone,

If you’ve read some of my blogs and posts before you will know that generally speaking I am very anti diet. As I explain here , in the long term I just don’t think they work. You can’t live “on a diet” forever  and inevitably at some point you will fall off the wagon. Much better, in my opinion, to change your eating habits for the long term and move to a more sustainable healthy eating plan where you eat well for the most part, but also allow yourself some treats and to misbehave on a regular basis. Read on to lose flab quickly and easily.

However I am now going to show myself up to be a complete hyprocrite and admit….I’m on a diet!! Let me explain. I am currently training really hard, hitting the gym 5 days a week, and trying to build muscle size AND stay lean at the same time (an impossible goal many would argue). However , despite my hard work both in the gym and trying to eat pretty well, I still have some stubborn flab around my lower belly, love handles and lower back. The classic slightly soft mid section of a guy in his late 40’s to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I am being hyper critical of myself, but then again I am a vain bastard and summer is coming, what can I say.

So I wanted a diet/eating plan that would allow me to maintain my size, contained plenty of protein for ongoing muscle growth AND would hopefully help me shift some flab and fat.

So whilst looking around I stumbled across “The boiled egg diet”. It sounds horrific I know, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. For me it ticked all the boxes. Lots of protein, lots of good fats, very few (if any starchy carbs) but also lots of good carbs and fibre from Vegetables and fruit. Would this help me maintain muscle and lose some flab?

I’m well aware that in some circles eggs have a bad reputation. Too high in fat! Too much Cholesterol! The risk of illness etc!

However, from all the research I have done eggs are an extremely healthy food as they contain lots of protein and numerous nutrients. Eggs provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients for our bodies.

Eggs contain a lot of nutrients, high-quality protein, good fats, minerals and vitamins. One egg is rich in Selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5 and Vitamin B12. They also contain minerals and vitamins such as Folate, vitamin E, potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc and iron.

One large egg contains small amounts of carbohydrates, five grams of fat, six grams of quality protein and 77 calories. It is really important to mention that the white contains all the protein, while all the healthy nutrients are in the yolk.

The plan is to do it for just two weeks. Potentially just lose a few pounds, strip as much fat as possible and still ,as much as I can, maintain muscle size. I’ve been doing it for a week now. The diet is below. Take a look and I’ll give you my impressions of it after that.

The Diet:

Week 1:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: two slices of meal bread and fruit Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and green salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: one tomato, one slice of meal bread and low fat cheese Dinner: cooked chicken and salad

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: fruit Dinner: streamed chicken

Friday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: two boiled eggs and steamed vegetables Dinner: barbecued fish and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: fruit Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tomato salad and steamed vegetables with chicken Dinner: streamed vegetables

Week 2:

Monday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Tuesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch: salad and chicken Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Wednesday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: orange, salad and two boiled eggs

Thursday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: steamed vegetables, two boiled eggs and low fat cheese Dinner: steamed chicken and salad

Friday: Breakfast:  two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: tuna salad Dinner: two boiled eggs and salad

Saturday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs and fruit Lunch: cooked chicken and salad Dinner: fruits

Sunday: Breakfast: two boiled eggs Lunch and Dinner: steamed vegetables and steamed chicken

So here we are, at the end of week one, and what do I think?  Well firstly, not to state the obvious, I’m sick to bloody death of eggs!! However I can live with that part and there is only another week to go.

In terms of more constructive criticism…here goes. The effect has not been incredible but I’m fairly pleased. Mainly because I seem to be hitting the main goals. I haven’t noticeably lost any muscle size or definition but I HAVE lost about 2 pounds in weight and thankfully that seems to have mostly been in my target area around my midriff and belly. It isn’t dramatic but it is noticeable and strangely, even though I only look slightly slimmer, I really feel different. I just feel leaner, a bit more taught, tighter in the areas I wanted to tighten up. Now that may just be psychological and we will see where we are in another week, but for now it seems to be working.

Other side effects are also positive. The massive cutback on anything sugary and complete cut out of alcohol has me feeling more alert, staying awake later, but sleeping better. I’m also smashing my gym workouts for the last week.

So is there any downside?  Well Yes… I must admit to finding it pretty boring. Eggs, fruit, steamed veg and plain chicken is torture to a man who craves flavour and loves his food. However I’m adding garlic, chilli and ginger to just about everything and that has improved things.

The other definite drawback is that the eggs, whilst not creating the expected eggy fart environment 24/7, are causing some bad breath issues sometimes. The eggs seem to have the effect of drying your mouth out a bit and that creates a sort of sour feeling. I’ve found that if you just drink even more water AND clean your teeth an extra time mid day, it goes away.

So, if like me, you want to still build muscle, cut the flab AND eat healthy then after week 1 I would definitely recommend the boiled egg diet. For me it’s something I may do for 2 weeks every 3 months or so just to strip some unwanted fat.

Having said all that, I am dreaming of next Tuesday when I’ve promised myself a “bad” day and when I sure as hell won’t be boiling any eggs.

Take Care,

John

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7 Top Tips to Look Great by Summer!!

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a post previously (see here) about Winter being the time to put in the hard work to get the body you want in the Summer. Well that is absolutely true Summer bodies are made in Winter. However if you over indulged a bit over the Christmas period (like me) and are keen to have a body to die for when beach season comes around (or at least not look like a beached whale), then what can you do to turn things around in the next few months.

Below are my 7 top tips for getting yourself beach ready and looking as well as feeling fantastic when Summer comes around. After all feeling fantastic on the inside will go a long way to helping you look great on the outside.

7 Top Summer Tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can: Yeah yeah, yeah. I know you’ve heard it all before, hell I’ve even written about it numerous time (here and here) for example. It just happens to be true however. Did you know that drinking a large glass of water will make your body burn 30 calories more over the next hour than it would have done without drinking it, even if you just sit on your arse for that hour. 6 glasses a day = almost 1300 calories a week burnt off. Water also allows your body to work more efficiently, flushing toxins out of your body, improving your skin and also allowing more effective processing of proteins and good fats to help you build muscle and shed fat. Finally drinking lots of water make you feel more full, reduces your appetite and actively helps you shed weight.
  2. Cut out the booze: I know, I know, this is a hard one right. Well I don’t mean completely. This is a site for ordinary people and most of us like a few beers or glasses of wine now and then. However what I do is try to be good and have no alcohol at all from Sunday night when i hit the pillow, until Friday evening. Why? well a number of reasons. You sleep better which is major factor in both physical and mental wellbeing. You sleep well you look better, simple. Proper rest also allows your body to rebuild its cells and grow muscle. As well as sleeping better you will be cutting out tonnes of calories you probably didn’t even think about. A pint of Lager contains approx. 190/200 calories, wine even more at about 210. If you can cut out 8 beers or 8 glasses of wine a week that’s roughly another 1600 calories gone (2900 including the extra water.) Just these two measures alone over the period of 3 -5 months will have you shedding pounds in weight.
  3. Eat right: At this point I can feel you frowning at the screen “damn this all sounds like hard work” you’re saying. Well I have two answers to that. Firstly, I’m all about moderation and enjoying your lives so believe me I’m not saying you have to deny yourself completely. Secondly, yes it does involve a bit of effort…..shock horror!! Did you really expert to transform your lazy arse into Elle Macpherson or Dwayne Johnson without having to do just a little work? So what do I mean by eat right? Well in previous articles (here , here and here) I go into a lot more detail. However lets keep things simple. Try to reduce portion sizes by 10%. Cut as many starchy and heavily refined carbohydrates as possible (that means less bread, less white pasta, white rice, potatoes). Cut out or at the very least reduce sugar as much as possible (sorry, that means very few cakes, biscuits/cookies, sweets and definitely cut out the soda’s and fizzy drinks). Eat lean proteins – Fish, Chicken, lean red meat every day and get as much salad and vegetable matter down your neck as you can. Again, for me, the same rules apply as with booze. Cut it our Monday to Friday and then (within reason) enjoy what you want at the weekends. Do this and again that will be many hundreds of calories less per week. Combine with the above two measures and you’ll be rocking and rolling in terms of internal health and weight loss.
  4. Aerobic Exercise: Or as it’s also known cardiovascular exercise. By this I don’t mean an old school John Travolta aerobics session (leg warmers are soooo last century). Unless you love running and have plenty of time on your hands I also wouldn’t go the route of long distance running (nothing against this, it’s just not time efficient in getting you fit and looking good). I would go the way of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training, or if you are more old school Circuit training. Pick 6 exercises that work your whole body between them. Do each exercise for 20/30 seconds or 10/12 reps with no rest in between. Once you have completed all 6 rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 3-6 times depending how fit you are. It should only take 10-20 mins max and you can do it in your garden, a park or even in the house if you can’t get to a gym. If possible try to incorporate some weights such as dumbbell/kettlebell into 2 or 3 of the exercises as this will tone muscle as well as build fitness and torch calories. This article and video demonstrates some examples you can use.
  5. Do some Strength/Weight training: I know that some of you hate weights. Ladies either get embarrassed using weights or mistakenly believe that they will turn into a 1970’s style East German shot putter as soon as they pick up a Dumbbell. Guys either don’t know what to do or again feel embarrassed by the muscle heads in the gym. Ignore all that, bite the bullet and do some strength/weight training. This sort of training tones and shapes your body like nothing else can. For ladies it will shape your legs and butt, define your shoulders and neckline and help shed those saggy backs of your arms that you hate when wearing summer dresses (yeah i know about those). It doesn’t have to be Olympic style lifting ladies, some smallish dumbbells and the right exercises will do the trick. Guys, unless you shift some weights around now and then it’s going to be very hard to tone up the muscles underneath that weight you have lost. Every man in the world looks better with slightly wider shoulders, a narrower waist, toned, fat free arms and a chest that is firm and free from moobs. We are not trying to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger here (unless you want to), just simply putting some muscle and toning onto your frame.
  6. Be targeted: I mean this in two ways. Firstly think about what you want to achieve by the Summer and write it down as a goal committed to paper becomes much more tangible and real. It could be I want to lose 2 dress sizes and tone up my butt. Or for guys, I want to get into 34 waist jeans and have muscular arms. Set a date to it eg by 1st if June i want to….. . Once you have done that you also need to be targeted in terms of your actual body. Take a look in the mirror and be honest. what are your good points that don’t need much work, and which are the bits that are heading south faster than you would like or are just a bit to squidgy and need some work. Once you have done that tailor your approach around those parts. If you are a lady and you want to firm up your bottom and legs then focus your training around those a little more (lots of lunges and squats). If you are a guy with a Pigeon chest or saggy triceps then target those areas and hammer things like presses and crossovers or push downs. It’s just common sense.
  7. Have fun and enjoy life: This is probably more important than all the others. None of the stuff above should be a chore. It’s all about moderation in life. By working hard and having some discipline some of the time, you can have fun and enjoy the good things in life the rest of the time. However it’s more than just that. I mean really enjoy life. Spend time with your kids, be stupid, laugh a lot, put work second to family, go on long walks, visit amazing places, eat good food, try new things. Get out and experience the world and squeeze the enjoyment from it. This is critical. People that are happy, enjoy life and are vibrant just exude a sense of wellbeing and simply look better. If you want to look and feel fabulous this summer the trust me, the six points above may help you along the way, but it’s this one, number 7 that will make all the difference.

Take Care,

John

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8 Top Tips To Defy Age!

sly-stalloneAge….It gets us all in the end!! However there is no need to be defeatist about it. We are all living longer, generally are healthier and with a little work can look and feel amazing well into our latter years. We may not all be able to look as incredible as Sylvester Stallone as we approach 70 (or even want to) but we definitely can defer, defy and defeat some of the symptoms that we’d all rather avoid.

Below is a list of 8 top tips to help you beat nasty Mr Age!! if you adopt at least some of these you’ll hopefully be looking and feeling fantastic well into your latter years. I’m 47, approaching 48 and fully intend to be fit, fun and ageing disgracefully for as long as I can. These tips apply equally if you are in your 20’s as your 70’s. The earlier you start, the easier it is.

Top 8 Tips:

  1. Mentality: This is hands down THE most critical thing for helping you stay young. How you feel about getting older will to a large extent determine not only how you age but how you deal with ageing. Of course getting older has it’s frustrations but if you get down about it, worry about every little ache or pain and generally live a life where the whole concept of getting older makes you miserable then that will be reflected in your health and face. Worry and frowning ages us, both medically and facially. Worry and stress release a chemical called Cortisol into our bodies which has a whole plethora of negative effects. Instead try to be positive in all things. Count the blessings that you have, laugh loud and hard as often as you can, shrug off all those daily little setbacks and generally squeeze as much fun from life as possible.
  2. Walk: This sounds very basic but again it makes a massive difference. Walk as often and as far as possible, ideally with some scenery thrown in. It has been proven in study after study that people who walk regularly are fitter, happier and live longer. If you are going on a short journey, just popping to the shops or heading into the country for the day then ditch the car or bus and walk. Get your head up, look around you , take in your surroundings and really notice the world. Most of us are in a hurry and don’t really look around us. Walking every day and getting into the outside air WILL have a hugely positive effect on both your fitness and mental wellbeing.
  3. Stretch: Maintaining your mobility is key as you get older. Many people start to suffer with aches and pains, lack of mobility in their shoulders and hips, lower back problems and general creakiness when getting out of bed or chairs. Unfortunately, to a degree it’s just a wear and tear issue. However you can really help yourself by stretching regularly. Spend 10 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes every evening doing a proper routine of yoga like stretches (loads to look up on YouTube) and focus on your back, hips, legs and shoulders and you will feel loose and mobile for as long as you want. Actually this applies to everyone, not just older readers.
  4. Exercise: “No shit!!” i hear you all cry. Yes I know this is an obvious one. We all know we should exercise but to me it’s important what type of exercise you do. If I’m honest any form or exercise that gets your heart rate up and lungs working will benefit you, but for maximum benefit as you get older you definitely need to incorporate some weight training into your regime. Why? I know many people are scared of weights. The answer is that by regularly doing some weights (doesn’t have to be hugely heavy) you will build and maintain muscle strength, tendon, ligament and joint strength and even more importantly It will help with bone density and strength. As we age many people, especially women suffer from decreased bone strength and even crumbling bones. if this happens in your spine or hips it can immobilise you. Regular bouts of strength or weights based activity fights this off.
  5. Drink Water:…..and lots of it. Yet another obvious one. Yes maybe it is obvious but how many of you do it? I wrote a previous article here proclaiming the many benefits of water consumption, but as we get older it’s even more important. If you want to fight off things like kidney and liver infections, bladder problems, joint stiffness and a whole host of other irritating age related issues then drinking 4 -6 glass of water a day WILL help. I guarantee it.drinking-water-2
  6. Supplementation: By that I don’t mean cramming a load of pills and vitamins down your neck. What I mean is using natural ingredients that have proven health and wellbeing benefits. Such as? Well if you can get as many of the following into your diet as possible on a regular basis they will have a wealth of benefits for your physical and internal health; Ginger, Turmeric, Chilli, Lemons & Lemon water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Natural fish oils, Organic Honey, Chia seeds, Cinnamon….and as stated above lots of water.
  7. Booze: Waheey…..that’s more like it. Don’t get too excited. This is not a license to go out on the lash 3 nights a week. However a couple of drinks in moderation has been shown to be good for the heart AND to help alleviate stress (see Cortisol above). So what do I mean by a couple of drinks? Well one glass of red wine 5 or 6 days a week will do you no harm. Or if you abstain 3 or 4 days a week then a couple of glasses of wine or 2 or 3 beers now and then should also be fine. I wrote a piece way back when i started this blog (see here) all about consistency and how it can give you freedom to enjoy your life. A few drinks here and there will allow you that enjoyment that is key to looking and feeling younger, and if you are consistent in your approach to fitness and wellbeing in most areas of your life, cutting loose now and then will do you no harm at all.
  8. Diet: Yet again a pretty obvious and boring one, but vital all the same. Lets be honest here, we all know what we should and should not be eating. Just to recap and break it down into basics. Lots of good protein – Chicken, Turkey, lots of fish and less often, good quality red meat. As well as Nuts, eggs and some good cheese. Don’t avoid fat as long as it isn’t processed fat. So some fat from meat, nuts, eggs, natural dairy products, real butter, real yoghurt, Avocado…it’s all good for you. Lots of fruit, veg and fibre. Basically as much veg as you can get down you. Things to avoid? Well, processed and packaged food as much as possible, sugar in all it’s sneaky hidden forms, almost all drinks other than water, tea, coffee and some occasional alcohol, and try to limit starchy food such as bread, cakes, flour based products, pasta etc.

That’s it, all pretty straightforward and basic stuff. The truth is however that its often the obvious things that we ignore. This article is not aimed just at us old/older gits. Whether you are 22 or 72 you are still ageing. If you can incorporate as many of these tips into your daily, weekly and monthly routines as possible then it will help everyone to age more healthily and gracefully and to actually start to forget that age is even a problem.

Take Care,

John

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Top 20 Weight Loss Foods you MUST Eat!

top-20-weight-loss-food-on-the-planet

Without going too Game of Thrones on you….WINTER IS COMING. What does that mean? Well if you are anything like me when it gets cold and dark out you want to eat hearty, hot, stomach filling yummies that make you forget about the outside. However as we all know “Summer bodies are made in the Winter”. It’s very easy to pile on the pounds between October and March and we don’t really notice as we spend our lives in big baggy jumpers and coats.

So with that in mind I thought it was timely to knock out a quick list of the most waistline friendly foods you can eat in order to keep you looking slim, trim and utterly divine in time for next Summer.

Please bear in mind here that as I always say, this blog is ORDINARY GUY FITNESS and that means i positively encourage you to indulge now and then, treat yourself occasionally and eat, drink and be merry over Christmas. However life is about balance and if you are good 80% of the time, you can be naughty the other 20%.

So without further ado….let’s crack on with the list.

Weight Loss Foods:

  1. Whole eggs – Once feared to be full of cholesterol, whole eggs happen to be making a comeback. New research has shown they don’t negatively affect bloodstream cholesterol or cause cardiac arrest. They’re full of protein, healthy fats, and will make you feel full whilst having a really low quantity of calories. Eggs will also be incredibly nutrient dense and will help you get all of the nutrients you’ll need on a calorie restricted diet. The majority of the nutrients are based in the yolks.
  2. Leafy Vegetables – Leafy vegetables include kale, green spinach, collards, swiss chards along with a couple of others. They’ve several qualities which make them ideal for keeping weight down. They’re lower in both calories and carbohydrates, but packed with fibre. Leafy vegetables will also be incredibly healthy and very high in most types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Including calcium, that have been proven to assist with fat loss in certain studies.
  3. Salmon & Oily Fish – Oily fish like Salmon is amazingly healthy. It’s also very satisfying, making you feel full for a number of hours with relatively few calories. Salmon is also packed with top quality protein, healthy fats as well as a variety of essential nutrients. Salmon can also be packed with Omega-3 fatty chemicals, that have been proven helpful in lowering inflammation, which may play a significant role in weight problems and metabolic disease. Spanish mackerel, trout, sardines, and other kinds of oily fish will also be excellent.
  4. Cruciferous Vegetables – These veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts. Like other veggies, they’re full of fibre and they are incredibly fulfilling. What’s more… these kinds of vegetables also have a tendency to contain decent levels of protein.brocolli
  5. Lean Meats & Chicken – Meat continues to be unfairly demonized. The reality is that meat is a diet friendly food, because it’s full of protein. Protein is easily the most fulfilling nutrient, and eating a higher protein diet will make you melt away up to 80 to 100 more calories each day. Research has proven that growing your protein intake to 30% of calories can reduce cravings by 60%, reduce desire to have late-night snacks by half, and cause weight reduction of up to one pound per week… simply by adding protein into the diet.
  6. Steamed Potato’s – What?? I hear you say. White-coloured taters appear to have fallen from favour for many reasons. However… they’ve several qualities which make them an ideal food, both to lose weight and for optimal health and wellness. They contain a remarkably diverse selection of nutrients, just about everything we need. They’re particularly full of potassium, a nutrient that many people don’t get an adequate amount of and plays a huge role in bloodstream pressure control. They are also extremely filling. This means that when you eat white-colored, steamed taters, you’ll naturally feel full and consume less food of other types. Sweet potato, turnips and other root veg have many of the same properties.
  7. Tuna – Tuna is yet another low-calorie, high protein food. It’s lean fish… there isn’t much fat inside it. Tuna is well-liked by bodybuilders and fitness models who’re on the cut, because it’s a terrific way to keep protein high, with total fat and calories low. If you are attempting to highlight protein intake, then make certain to select tuna canned in water, not oil.
  8. Beans & Legumes – Some beans and legumes could be advantageous to lose weight. These include lentils, black beans, kidney beans and a few others. They are usually full of fibre and protein ,and tend to be very filling which means you reduce overall calorie intake.
  9. Soups – Foods with a low energy density (ie that take almost more effort to eat than calories they contain) are great when losing weight. Vegetable soups fall into this category. Some research has proven that eating the very same food, except produced in a soup rather than as solid food, makes people feel more satiated and eat considerably less calories.
  10. Cottage Cheese – Dairy items are usually full of protein. Among the best ones is cottage cheese… calorie for calorie, it’s mostly just protein with hardly any carb and fat. Most dairy items will also be full of calcium, and that has been proven to assist in the bodies fat burning process.
  11. Avocados – Avocados really are a unique kind of fruit. Whereas most fruit has elevated levels of carbohydrates, avocados consist mainly of healthy fats. They’re particularly full of monounsaturated oleic acid, exactly the same kind of fat present in essential olive oil. Avocados are great as inclusions in salad, because research has shown the fats inside them can boost the nutrient uptake in the veggies 2.6 to fifteen-fold. Additionally they contain many essential nutrients, including fibre and potassium.
  12. Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar treatment has become amazingly popular within the natural health community. It can be used in condiments, like dressings or vinaigrettes. Many people even dilute it in water and drink it. Several studies in humans claim that vinegar could be helpful to lose weight. Taking vinegar simultaneously with a high-carb meal can increase feelings of fullness making people eat 200-275 less calories during the day. Vinegar has additionally been proven to lessen bloodstream sugar spikes after foods, which can lead to a variety of advantageous effects on health within the long term.
  13. Nuts – Despite being full of fat, nuts aren’t naturally fattening. They’re a great snack, that contains balanced levels of protein, fibre and healthy fats. Research has proven that eating nuts can improve metabolic health and even result in weight reduction. Research has also proven that individuals who eat nuts are usually healthier, and leaner, than those who don’t.nuts
  14. Some Whole Grain Products – Despite grains getting a poor rap recently, there are several types which are certainly healthy. Notable good examples include oatmeal, brown grain and quinoa. Oatmeal consist of beta-glucans, soluble fibers which have been proven to improve satisfaction when eating and improve metabolic health. If you are on a really low-carb diet then you’ll wish to avoid grains, since they’re full of carbohydrates. But there’s no problem with eating a few of the healthier grains if you’re able to tolerate them.
  15. Chilli & Other Peppers – Eating chili and all kinds of peppers might be helpful on a diet. They have a substance known as capsaicin, that has been proven in lowering appetite while increasing fat loss in studies. It is even offered in supplement form and is a very common component in lots of commercial diet supplements. It also speeds up your bodies metabolism.
  16. Fruit – Most health professionals agree that fruit is good. Numerous research has proven that individuals who consume the most fruit (and veggies) are usually healthier than individuals who don’t. While they contain sugar, they also have a low energy density and take time to munch. Plus, the fibre aids in preventing the sugar from being launched too rapidly into the blood stream.
  17. Grapefruit – One fruit that should be highlighted is grapefruit, because its effects on weight loss happen to have been analyzed directly. One study of 91 obese people, eating half a grapefruit before foods caused weight reduction of 1.6 kg during a period of 12 days. The grapefruit also helped reductions in blood insulin resistance, a metabolic abnormality that’s implicated in a variety of chronic illnesses. So… eating half a grapefruit about 30 minutes before a number of your everyday foods will let you feel more satiated and eat less overall calories.grapefruit-weight-loss-diabetes
  18. Chia Seed Products – Chia seed products are some of the most healthy meals around. They contain 12 grams of carb per ounce, which is pretty high, but 11 of those individuals grams are fibre. This will make chia seed products a minimal-carb friendly food, and among the best sources of fibre on the planet.
  19. Coconut Oil – Not all fats are equal. Cocounut oil has elevated levels of fatty chemicals of medium length, known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These are far more satisfying and lower in calories. Some studies have even shown that coconut oil can help to actively reduce stomach fat. Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil should be the only fats you need for cooking and sauces.
  20. Full fat natural yoghurt – A great dairy product. Yoghurt consists of probiotic bacteria that may enhance the efficiency and balance of your stomach. Getting a properly balanced stomach can help safeguard against inflammation and leptin resistance, the primary hormonal driver of weight problems. Just make certain to select full-fat yoghurt… this is the good stuff. High in protein and good fats as well as the right sort of bacteria. Low-fat yogurt is generally packed with sugar, so it is advisable to avoid it like the plague.

 

That’s it. A pretty comprehensive list. Loads of yummy things in there. What is the common thread amongst them all?? They are all pretty much natural products. Avoid processed and packaged foods wherever you can. Eat healthily from the list above, even in fairly large quantities, train 3 to 4 times a week and you WILL lose weight and will look and feel healthier and slimmer.

Take Care

John

 

 

 

Winter is the time to transform your body!!

summer-winter-bodiesWe all train and try to keep fit for a variety of different reasons: Health, weight loss, sport, to achieve a goal or simply for enjoyment. However one thing I think very few of us would deny is that we all like to look good, or as good as possible. That is especially the case as we move into summer. When the tree’s start to bloom, the sky brightens and the weather gets a bit warmer every lady I know swaps from winter wardrobe to summer wardrobe………often involving hours of deliberation and a great deal of standing in front of mirrors muttering to themselves.

It’s not just the ladies, us guys, or at least the vain ones like me, break out the t-shirts and shirts, and then stand side on to the mirror patting our guts and saying “I really must do something about this beer belly”.

Winter Training:

However what so many people fail to realise is that by then it is almost certainly too late, or is going to take an incredible amount of hard work and self discipline to really make the changes you want in time to hit the beaches in great bikini shape for July/August.

There are a few points I would make here. Firstly so many people see fitness, weight and shape control as exactly what I’ve just described……a summer sport if you like. Something not to be thought about too much when the days are cold and nights are dark. Then panic sets in as soon as spring comes. Well it’s pretty clear that that is the wrong way to approach things. Rather than crash diets and crash fitness plans it’s far better to take a much more year round, lifestyle and holistic approach. In previous articles here and here I talked about why continually going on seasonal or crash diets don’t work and how by being consistent over the long term you can achieve amazing effects AND still lead a fun and treat filled life.

Secondly, by leaving things late you will have to work much harder, physically punish yourself much more and also be much more rigid in your eating plan. If you have any significant weight or fat to lose or intend to build any real noticeable muscle, then trying to do that in 8-12 weeks is so much more difficult than doing it over a 6 month period. By going more slowly you can gradually shed the weight, still eat healthily but also still allow yourself the odd blowout. You can also work more effectively on your fitness regime as you will have more time to build in both cardio and metabolic training to help you shed the pounds or kilo’s, as well as time for muscle building and toning to give your body the shape you want.

winter-weight-trainingFinally, most people have more time in the winter. There are less BBQ’s to attend, holidays to go on, sunny evenings with friends and a bit less temptation to drive you off course. Even as a committed fitness fan I freely admit that when it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden all I really want to do is crack open a couple of beers or get stuck into a nice chilled bottle of white wine, often washed down with some fattening snacks. In winter there is less cause to dress in your finery and go socialising and more chance to dig out the old tracksuits, set yourself some targets and warm yourself up by working hard. Then by Summer you can emerge like a Phoenix from the flames with a brand new set of feathers and looking magnificent (well that’s the plan at least).

So how should you go about this. Firstly you should spend five minutes giving some thought to and ideally writing down your goals. It could be as simple as “I want to fit in those skinny jeans that used to fit me”, or “I want to lose 20 lbs in weight”, or it could be something much more specific like I want to be able to run 5 miles and have built my shoulder, chest and arm muscles up significantly.

Then you simply break that down into workable and mouthful sized pieces. So if you want to lose 20lb in weight, that’s roughly 3.5 lb a month or just under 1lb a week. Believe me with some dietary changes and an increase in your exercise that is achievable for anyone over 6 months but would be far more difficult if not impossible in 8 weeks. Similarly if you hit the weights fairly hard in a structured programme, throw in some cardio and also make some changes in what you eat, then you can really transform your build and musculature over 6 months, much more so than you can do in 8-12 weeks.

The final and fun benefit of training hard in the winter is that it is hidden. Just think how you’ll feel Ladies on that first sunny weekend (about the end of June if you live in England) when you finally shed the heavy jumpers and wear a sleeveless blouse for the first time and all your friends gasp at how you have traded in your batwings for svelte and toned arms…….it can be done. So what you really need to do, as with almost everything I advise is change your mind set. It’s September now, the dark days are coming (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least). Plan ahead. Picture how you want to look and feel by May/June next year and put your plan into practice now. Summer bodies are built in Winter so this Winter make it count!!

rocky-balboa-winter-training

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6 Reasons Water is your best friend!!

Drinking water

Boy oh boy……it’s hot!! It’s been 33/34 degree’s c or pushing into the 90’s F in the UK the last few days and with no wind or air it’s felt hotter. Not that I’m complaining, I’d live the rest of my life in just shorts if i could. However when it’s like this we all tend to spend a lot of time looking in the fridge and thinking “what the hell can i drink?”

We all realise that when it’s hot like this you need to drink more, not just to quench your thirst but to keep yourself hydrated. We are all aware that hydration is so important and that dehydration is a BAD thing right? Of course……but do we really go about it the right way and do we know what we really should be drinking?

The answer is WATER!!!! We probably all know that but do we know why? Do we know just how good for us it is and what many of the amazing benefits are of drinking plain ol simple H2O? We are probably all vaguely aware from our school days that our bodies are largely made up of water, 70%+ and that should tell you why it is just so vital for so many elements of our health.

Below I’ve detailed 6 reasons why drinking more water daily will have immediate, positive and visible benefits to you, your body and your health. Firstly though lets deal with one of the big issues. You’ve probably all heard the “You need to drink 2-4 litres of water per day, or at least 8 large glasses”…….hmmmmm really? In an ideal world that might be true, but this site is all about reality and ordinary people. How realistic is that? For a start, with the best will in the world, drinking 4 litres of water a day + other drinks would mean you’d spend half your life in the toilet. There is also the practicality element depending on how and where you work, and then there is the boredom factor (I’ll cover that a bit later). In my view we need to get real here. Most of us don’t drink enough water so any extra is an improvement….but what should we be aiming for? If you can drink 1.5-2 lires of water a day or 3 to 4 pints, plus your normal consumption of other drinks, that’s plenty. That equates to a couple of decent sized glasses in the morning (when it’s most important), 1 at lunchtime, 1 at dinner time and maybe a smaller one before bed. Job done.

Reasons to drink Water.

  1. Drinking water actively helps you to lose weight. How? Well in a number of ways. Water actually helps to fire up and fuel your metabolism. An increased metabolism helps burn more calories even without exercise. Not only that but the water helps flush away excess fats in the body. An additional benefit is that drinking water helps alleviate hunger pains. Try drinking a large glass of water 15 minutes before a meal and you will feel slightly less hungry when you eat. Do this at every meal and it will aid your weight loss.
  2. One for the ladies. Drinking extra or more water will have a dramatic effect on your skin. Many of us, especially ladies who apparently are “so much busier” than us guys, are walking around partially dehydrated much of the time. Your skin and the fatty layer just below it contain a huge amount of water. If you allow your overall water levels to drop that skin and fatty layer will shrivel and tighten, and you know what that means……….the dreaded wrinkles. I’ve no idea who this lady is but hope she doesn’t mind me using this picture. Check out the difference after just 4 weeks. Noticeably less wrinkles and grooves in the face, dark marks under the eyes are gone and the general colour and tone of the skin looks so much better. Give it a go ladies…it works.

Skin-benefits-of-drinking-water-anti-aging-remedy

3. Big improvements in the function of ALL of your internal organs. Your kidneys and Liver cannot function properly without enough water in your body and these are vital for flushing out toxins, cleaning your blood and generally purifying your whole body. Over the long term these can be badly damaged by prolonged lack of water but this can be quickly improved by upping your daily intake. However it’s not just those. Your heart and arteries love water, as it also helps to clear away some of the clogging that age and diet produce and also helps the heart pump blood more effectively around your body. Finally your stomach and intestines use water to regulate and make your digestive system work much more effectively. You will go to the loo more regularly (both types) and less painfully and after a time will feel less bloated and cramped in the stomach area. There are even some studies that suggest that drinking plenty of water can help prevent certain types of cancer such as colon cancer.

4. Reduces fatigue and improves mood. Many people wander around constantly saying “I feel so tired all the time”, or feeling grouchy and grumpy, unable to easily deal with the day to day issues that life throws at us all. Research has shown that just a 2% drop in ideal water levels can dramatically increase fatigue in the body, lead to an inability to concentrate and can also alter mood in a negative way. Upping your water intake will over a period of time give you more energy (and that alone will improve your mood), but also has a direct positive effect on your brain function and actively puts you in a more positive mind set and improves your mood. Water makes you smile…….not sure if that’s a catchphrase yet but maybe it should be.

5. Drinking water improves joint pain and issues with muscles and ligaments. Joints are just that, joints. If you have a door hinge and it gets stiff, what does it need…..oil. Well joints in the human body are no different. Our shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles etc etc all move and all need lubrication to do that easily and effectively. Cartilage, spinal discs, ligaments, tendons etc all contain water to give them their flexibility and sponginess. If you become dehydrated or just don’t quite have enough water then guess what? All those joints stiffen up a little. I’m not going to tell you that it is a miracle cure and if the cartilage in your knee is completely shot that drinking water will solve it, that just isn’t true. But it is true that if your are a normal person , drinking extra water will help lubricate those joints, add some extra tone and flexibility to your muscles, soften and relax your tendons and ligaments and over all that may add just an extra 1-3% improvement in how your body feels. Isn’t that a great result from something that just flows out of the tap??

6. The last one is not so obvious but increasingly seems like it may be important. Drinking water helps to regulate your bodies PH levels. What’s that? The PH level is the balance between Acidity and Alkaline levels in your body. It is best to be pretty neutral or moving slightly towards Alkaline. There is some research that seems to indicate that excess acidity in the body “may” be a cause of various diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Things like bad diet, lack of water, smoking etc can all cause higher levels of acidity. Drinking extra water helps balance your PH levels and although this is not proven , a balanced PH level is much more likely to lead to longer term health benefits.

Hydration - water - lemon

So here are just a couple of tips to help you add more of this vital, life giving and health promoting substance into your daily routines. Firstly, drink a large glass of water pretty much as soon as you get up. Head down the stairs or into the bathroom and glug down a decent sized glass before you do anything else (coffee comes 2nd I’m afraid). Not only does this get one of your days glasses done before you can think about it, but your body which has had no hydration for the 5, 6 or 8 hours (if you’re lucky) that you’ve been asleep, desperately needs it.

Drink another glass 15 minutes before lunch and 15 minutes before dinner. You will eat slightly less but it will also actively improve the digestion of the food you eat.

My final tip, cos lets face it, gallons of water can be slightly boring, is add some simple ingredients to freshen up the flavour slightly. I’d suggest fresh lemons and/or some mint or Ginger. Simply get a large jug or 2 litre bottle. Fill with water. Slice up a lemon and add to the water, stick it in the fridge and away you go. Mint and ginger as extra’s if you want to be totally radical.

I hope you enjoyed this and please please give it a try. Make drinking 3 to 4 pints of water (around 1.5-2 litres) a day your mission over the hot summer months. Do it every day and then come back to me in a month and tell me how you feel.

Take Care,

John

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