Hate Exercise?

imagesN49PZT2ZThis blog will be directed to all those people who hate exercise in all its forms, people who have stressful sedentary desk jobs. If that’s you, and you want to add some form of indirect exercise into your life with some nutritional advice, then read on…

It’s unavoidable, we get older and the foods we once ate without guilt are now showing visibly on our waistlines. The fact is, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) is dependent on two main factors; age and physical activity level. We can’t change the former, so let’s try and tackle the later in small baby steps.



Walking is a great low intensity exercise that most people can do on a daily basis. Getting off the bus or tube a stop early and walking that extra 10-20 minutes to work everyday will make a huge difference if done day in day out. Don’t just stand on the escalator, walk up the stairs. Going for a brisk walk in your lunch hour rather than sitting at your desk surfing the web with a sandwich has been proved to not only shift the lard but also help brain function and release mood enhancing endorphins. Take the stairs for that 11am meeting on the 4th floor rather than the lift and you’ll burn many more calories and stoke that fat burning flame long after you’ve got there. Volunteer to get the coffees and teas in, it’ll make you more popular while keeping you on the move. Instead of calling or emailing your colleagues, meet face-to-face and have a real conversation. To keep up the momentum, get yourself an expensive pedometer and monitor your daily steps and calories burned.



There’s no point getting the extra exercise in and then eating a Krispy Kreme. You need to keep a check on what you put into your mouth and keep a balance. Start the day with breakfast. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast in the morning eat fewer calories throughout the day than their non-eating breakfast counterparts. Bad food choices are due to being hungry, the brain will crave high sugar foods once you get to this place and you’ll lose the willpower and give in to that biscuit. Wake up and eat a balanced nutritional breakfast, for example, scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, porridge with chopped nuts and berries, etc. The breakfast will kick start your metabolism and keep you away from that mid-morning craving for that jam doughnut or those custard crèmes. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids; preferably water and teas and coffees without sugar. If you’ve can’t bear your tea or coffee without sweetener try using stevia (a natural sweetener found in plant extract). The extra fluids won’t have you peeing like a race horse, but you’ll be making more visits to the toilet, again, getting you moving. Bring in your lunch and snacks and save yourself hundreds of pounds a year at the same time. When you prepare your own lunch, you’ll know exactly what goes into it as you’re in charge.


These are all great ways into getting your mind-set and body into good habits, giving you the momentum to maybe heaven forbid join a gym…who knows. It all starts with baby steps…

Glycaemic Index

The glycaemic index (GI) is a ranking of foods between 0 and 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after being eaten. It should be noted that the glycaemic load of a food should also be taken into consideration when determining the effect on blood sugar levels after ingesting carbohydrates. In this blog, I’ll discuss low and high glycaemic (GI) meals and when it’s appropriate to eat them.


Pre-exercise meal

It has often been quoted that a pre exercise meal is best chosen from low GI foods. The rationale for this belief is that, if a high GI carbohydrate (CHO) meal is taken before training or competing, the relatively rapid rise in blood glucose will cause a corresponding release of insulin.

The feared effects of high GI CHO were:

  • an increased rate of early glucose oxidation
  • a ‘rebound hypoglycaemia’ effect where the increased insulin causes a rapid fall in glucose levels possibly even before the session has begun

Research has shown that cyclists given a low GI meal consisting of lentils eaten one hour before intensive exercise, performed for longer before fatiguing, when compared to those fed on a high GI meal. The research suggested that glycogen sparing may have occurred with the low glycaemic trial, thus promoting better performance. However, post training glycogen levels were never measured, and subsequent studies have failed to prove any clear benefit from pre-feeding on a low glycaemic meal.

The majority of studies show that there may be slightly more favourable metabolic conditions with regards to insulin levels during exercise associated with low GI foods than with high GI alternatives; these differences are small and short lived. The conclusion is that athletes probably perform the same on both pre-race meals.

The real difference in performance appears to be related to carbohydrate feeding during exercise, which seems to override any metabolic or performance effects arising from the type of pre-event meal. Athletes should consume adequate amounts of carbohydrate drinks during endurance exercise, and may feel free to choose their pre-exercise meal according to their personal preferences.


Carbohydrates taken during exercise

Ingesting carbohydrates is acceptable if:

  • the session is longer than an hour
  • the match or race is longer than 90 minutes
  • if pre-exercise meal is not possible (early morning intensive training)

The consumption of isotonic drinks during exercise has been shown to delay the onset of fatigue and improve performance in endurance athletes. Many athletes find it difficult to consume even a light meal before exercise with causing discomfort, or they simply may not have time before their planned training session. Ingesting an isotonic drink during endurance training is as effective as the pre-training carbohydrate meal. The replacement of fluid provided by the isotonic drink is also a direct advantage.


Post-exercise meal

After intensive exercise, the muscles are more sensitive to the effects of insulin thus enabling more efficient replacement of lost glycogen. This process is particularly evident during the first two hours following the training session. The rapid synthesis of muscle glycogen stores is aided by the immediate intake of high GI carbohydrate. Studies have shown that the first intake of carbohydrate should be taken within 15 minutes of the workout.



We are not all athletes, but the guidelines mentioned above seem to work for the general gym goer. I would suggest that eating a balanced low GI meal 2 hours before training, followed by a high GI snack like a banana with a protein shake within the 15 minute post-exercise, followed by a suitable balanced meal within 2-3 hours of exercise. The reason for the high GI fuel within 15 minutes of exercise is to get your body out of the catabolism (using your muscle for fuel) and getting it back as quickly as possible into anabolism (building muscle).

How to lose fat – create an energy deficit

bodycompoToday, I’m writing about ‘how to lose fat – create an energy deficit’. It’s quite simple really, if you burn more calories than you ingest, you’ll lose weight / fat – period.

To do this you first need to find out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), refer to my previous blog “How to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)”

Once you’ve worked this out, you’re good to go…

A common approach to reducing body fat is to establish a negative energy balance. Research indicates that if the energy deficit is too great then body fat is more likely to return, possibly to an even greater level.

A priority for an effective weight management programme is to lose body fat, whilst retaining as much lean mass (muscle) as possible thereby minimising the fall in metabolic rate. Many studies on this subject have all concluded that a weight loss of 1 lb per week (ideally from body fat) is recommended.

Create a 500 kcal deficit per day = 3500 kcal in a week = approximately 1 lb of fat

This reduction in body weight may be achieved through several different strategies:

  • diet restriction alone
  • exercise intervention alone
  • exercise and dietary restriction combined – most effective approach*

* The combination of exercise coupled with a modest dietary restriction has been proved from numerous studies to be the most effective method for achieving the desired negative energy balance whilst minimising a fall in metabolic rate.

To work out the number of calories in foods / meals, you could use a number of free android apps. My favourite app is “MyFitnessPal”, which helps you keep track of your eating habits and the amount of calories in each meal.



Reduce calories by a combination of exercise and diet to the sum of 500 a day from your TDEE. Try to be honest with your calorie consumption, use an app like “MyFitnessPal” to track your meals and snacks.