OK, it’s been a while…


Well, it’s been a couple of months since my last post and there is a reason…

I have been finishing off a new business that I have been developing and will be launched next month.

So, here it is! http://www.bestfitholidays.com

It’s a all inclusive weight loss/fitness holiday based in the beautiful island of Cebu, Philippines.

My commitment to guests that visit the Best Fit Holiday Resort is that:

They will return home from their holiday completely empowered to take charge of their health. They will be fitter, stronger and many pounds lighter.

 

Burn calories whilst having fun, soaking up sun and seeing the beautiful sights of the Philippines. We provide a great balance of holiday experiences, education and vigorous exercise. You will enjoy waterfall walks, island hopping, jogging though rice patties and various workouts such as, boxing, team challenges, yoga, pilates, aqua aerobics in the resort pool and various circuit training sessions on the beach.
We will equip guests with the skills they need to work out their own meal plans and exercise programs, based on their ever changing body shape, fitness levels and goals.
Our trainers will motivate, coach and push guests to their limits, to accelerate weight loss and increase their fitness levels quickly, safely and effectively.
Through daily group and one on one coaching sessions, guests will learn the many reasons why we often struggle with our weight. We will teach them how their body works and how to take control of the environment they will return home to and tackle emotional issues that can contribute to poor health and weight gain.
By the end of the holiday, guests will notice a significant increase in strength, fitness, stamina, energy levels and flexibility.
Guests will leave with a full set of course notes and will also be emailed all the tools they  will need to continue to keep up the good work at home.
We are not a detox or fasting resort. Guests will dine on delicious healthy meals of fresh organic foods, seafoods and local cuisines, five times a day. Each meal is exactly what their body needs to stay fueled up to maximize work outs and weight loss. We will also show guests how to prepare these tasty dishes at home!
When the workouts and activities are done, guests are free to relax and enjoy the beautiful resort.
Please see the website and let me know your thoughts!

All the best,
Matt

The best protein bars on the planet!


And so easy to make!

Protein bars are a convenient way of getting a healthy snack on the run. On face value, they may appear to be healthy, but look further into the ingredients and you will see that most are nothing more than glorified high protein candy bars. I personally do not recommend eating anything unless you know exactly what is in it.

In the attempt to sell more bars, many companies have resorted to adding chocolates, caramels and a whole heap of other sugar rich goodies to make their bars taste better.

If you look at the label of most protein bars on the market, you will often see that the sugar levels are about the same as a Mars bar. The fat content may be a few grams lower and the protein far lower, but sugar content will be similar. Some so called “Low Carb” bars, trick you by describing “Net Carbs” which is different from the overall carbs in the bar. Other sugars and carbs, which of course contain calories, are hidden as alcohol sugars or glycerine. They are still however sugars.

Most protein bars are highly refined to make them taste better and have better texture.

So, make your own! The following recipe makes the best tasting bars I have ever tasted. Seriously! And they have slow release carbs from oats and museli, good fats from nuts and are high in protein. These are ideal for anyone that wants a healthy high protein snack and especially good for Diabetics.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Brownie Protein Bars

Makes 10 bars

Ingredients

• 7 scoops chocolate protein powder (2.5g carbs and 30g protein per scoop)

• 1 cup/200g oatmeal/Museli (You can use a mix of Oatbran, Museli and oats)

• 90g natural peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)

• 3 Tbsp honey

• ½ cup low fat milk

• 3 tbsp crushed peanuts (70g)

Directions

  1. Place the protein powder, oatmeal, peanut butter, honey and milk into a food processor and roughly blend.
  2. With wet hands, roll into 10 bars and then roll in the crushed peanuts and press into bar shapes to finish.
  3. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes

Each bar contains 10.5g Fat, 28g Protein and 22g Carbs. Total 295 calories

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Cardio then Weights, Or Weights then Cardio?


We are all pressed for time and want to make sure that the minutes spent in the gym are as effective as they can be and provide us with the best results for the time spent.

I often get asked what is best for losing fat? Cardio then Weights or Weights then Cardio?ImageImage

If you get the answer correct, you can hugely increase the effectiveness of your workout. So here is the answer and why.

Weights first, then Cardio

Why?

Your body can not burn fat until it has burned 80% of your glycogen stores. (Carbohydrates broken down into blood sugars, stored in your blood, liver and muscles). So use your glycogen stores for your more explosive exercises such as your weights routine. By the end of an intense 45 minute weights workout, you are likely to have burned a large amount of your glycogen store. When you do cardio after, you are much more likely to be using fat as a fuel source.

Also, doing extensive amounts of cardio before your weights routine, will make you weak when you need to be at your strongest.

I do recommend however to do a 5 minute warm up on a relevant piece of cardio. If you are doing upper body, then use a cross trainer using your arms, or a grinder. For Legs, a light jog or stationary bike is suitable.

I prefer to work out in the morning when my stomach and blood sugars are low. A serving of low carb protein shake with a scoop of creatine and glutamine 45 mins before your workout is advisable for optimum results.

Look out for my next post about Weights Vs Cardio for weight loss. Which is better and why?

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The best return on investment is time spent on YOUR health


The old saying, “You get out what you put in” is a great little motto to remember when striving to achieve anything you value in life.

If you are serious about learning another language, you can not practice 5 minutes a day and expect to be fluent in three months. Same goes with your health and fitness. Spend five minutes a day, and not much will change.

The great thing about investing time in your health and fitness is the return. Invest 45 minutes a day, three days a week and reduce your chances of getting heart disease or cancer by over 40%, sleep better, have more energy, reduce stress, lose body fat, reduce your resting heart rate and live longer..

Invest 45 minutes a day, five days a week and 30-45 minutes in the evening to prepare a healthy dinner and some well balanced meals for the following day and all of the above PLUS the body you have always wanted is available to you.

I do not know of any other investment of ones time that gives a return that has so many benefits.

Here are a few steps towards achieving your health goals.

Step one. Decide WHY?

You need to ponder the reasons why investing time and effort in your health and fitness is important to you? Is it to lose weight so that you can live longer and have much better quality time with your children and family? Is it to become fit enough to travel the world and see it’s many beautiful sights? Is it to get off blood pressure medication or manage diabetes so that you live longer and have a much better quality of life? Or do you just want a body that is smoking hot to attract the opposite sex? What ever it is, it has to be important to you and most importantly, have meaning and purpose.

Step two. Know clearly what your goal is.

Then visualize yourself in vivid colorful images of how you would like to look and how life will be different once you have acheived this goal. I usually do this last thing at night before I sleep and first thing in the morning. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is not. If you can go there in the mind, you can go there in the body.

Step three. Make YOUR health a priority.

Understand that without it, you are nothing. With bad health, you are restricted and burdened. Not only does bad health and chronic disease effect you, but it also  effects your family and loved ones that care for you.

Your health must become number one priority in your life. Yes it may take some of your time, but I guarantee the time you spend, will bring ease and grace to every other area of your life. Life is to be enjoyed!

Step four. Plan it.

Get advice on what you need to eat and how much exercise you need to do to achieve your goal and then follow it. The old 80/20 rule applies here. Be good and stick to the plan 80% of the time and give yourself 20% leeway.

Step five. START!

In my next post, I will share more about my routine and diet. I exercise around 1.5hrs a day and spend about 40 minutes in the evening preparing all my meals. It really doesn’t take that long to cook healthy and delicious foods.

Here is a pic of today’s meals. Along with two protein shakes, this makes up 2400 calories, 240g protein, 240g Carbs and about 54g Fat.

Image

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Work out how many calories you are burning, just like a nutritionist!


Our energy output is a determined by two things.

  1. The calories burned from normal bodily function (Basal metabolic rate or BMR) such as breathing, organ function and digesting food.
  2. Additional natural movement such as moving limbs and walking throughout the course of the day and any additional exercise.

Working out your BMR

BMR is dependent on the individuals body weight and can be roughly calculated by multiplying your lean body mass in pounds by 14. (There are 2.2lbs per kilo).

You will need to measure your body fat levels with a trainer at your gym. Once you know your body fat, work out your lean mass. Your lean mass is made up of Muscle, bone, ligaments, tendons and water. We sometimes refer to this as your “active mass” as this is the mass that has calorie burning capabilities, unlike fat mass.

Eg. A person at 200lb with 20% body fat leaves 160lbs lean mass. 160lbs x 14 = 2240 calories. 14 always stays as a constant.This number is your BMR, or the amount of calories you burn per day in a sedentary state.

You can print this screen and record this number below.

My BMR is: ________ Calories per day

Then you need to add additional exercise to find out how many calories you approximately expend on a daily basis.

Count how many minutes of exercise you are doing on a daily basis and at what intensity. Eg. 60 minutes at 80% intensity. 60 x 0.8 = 48 active minutes at 100% intensity.

Regardless of what exercise, you can roughly gauge the intensity by how high your average heart rate is during the exercise is. Take 220, minus your age and that is your maximum, or 100% intensity. Eg. I am 32yo. My 100% intensity is 188 heart beats per minute. 80% of 188 would be 150.4 beats per minute.

To put it simply, when I do weights, I keep my rest periods to about one minute. My intensity is about 75%. When I do a spin cycle class, I average about 85%. If I am doing sprints or fast paced running, I can get up to about 90%.

Count your active minutes per day for a week.

Monday:       ________Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

Tuesday:      ________Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

Wednesday: ________Mins at_____% intensity = _______ active mins

Thursday:    ________ Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

Friday:         ________Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

Saturday:     ________Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

Sunday:       ________Mins at _____% intensity = _______ active mins

TOTAL                                                                     _______ active mins

Take your total number of active minutes and divide the number by 60. =_______

Then add this number to 14.  14 + _____ = _____  Eg. 14 + 3.7 = 17.7

Now take that number and multiple it by your total lean mass in pounds. Eg. 180lbs lean mass X 17.7 = 2832 calories burned on average per day. Some days may be higher and some days less, but this will be very close and will give you a good idea of how many calories to consume each day.

(New number)_____ x _____lbs lean mass

My Daily Energy Output is _____ calories

For dieters that want to lose fat weight, subtract 500 to 1000 calories off your daily expenditure and consume that amount of calories.

For some smaller people, you may find that this level of calories is too low. Even for the smallest dieter, it is important to never consume any less than 1200 calories for a woman and no less than 1800 calories for a male for any sustained period of time.

I know there are a lot of calculations! If you have any questions, just let me know!

If you can master the above, you will now be able to work out how many calories you are burning, just like a nutritionist!

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The only way to lose weight!


Move More, Eat Less.

As obvious as it sounds, this really is the only way any diet will work. From the Atkins Diet to the South Beach Diet, Diets will only work if the dieter consumes less calories than they expend, with one exception.

While it is true that weight loss can only occur when we expend more calories than what we ingest, if we eat too little and make the gap between energy intake (food) and energy output (exercise) too large, things can go terribly wrong. For instance, put Lance Armstrong on a daily calorie intake of 2000, when on an average training day he would burn more than 13000 calories and before long, he would be sick as a dog and in a state of anorexia.

One of the most common complaints I would hear from my over 100kg clients, was that they would eat very little and exercise regularly but still gain weight. If the gap between energy out vs energy in is more than around 1000 calories a day, the result can often mean that the body goes into a state of starvation and holds on to as much fat weight as possible.  This is why very low calorie diets do not work and are never sustainable.

Why would your body want to let go of body fat stores when instinctively your brain is sending messages to the body that there is a severe lack of food and therefore must hold onto as much fat as possible to stay alive for as long as possible? When the mind perceives a lack of food, it automatically tells the body the best way to survive and fires into action. In instances of continued famine, (eating 1000 less calories than the energy we expend in a given day) the body reacts by storing fat. Fat, having the highest energy content at 9 calories per gram, is stored as adipose (fat) tissue on the body and supplies the body with over double the useable energy than that of carbohydrates and proteins. Proteins and carbohydrates offer only 4 calories per gram. Remember, we are generically wired for survival.

Food energy is measured in calories. Every food has a different calorific value. A gram of lettuce has about 0.16 calories, whereas a gram of avocado has around 8 times as much with 1.26 calories. The scientific measurement of a calorie is the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C. Slightly technical, but pretty much meaning that the higher the calorie value of a particular food, the longer it takes your body to burn it off, making it a more sustainable source of fuel. Or on the positive side, the more energy available, the more energy we have available to perform exercise or daily tasks.

When we consume less calories than we expend over a sustained period of time, we experience weight loss. The energy required to burn one kilo of fat, is 7000 calories. Therefore, if you consume 500 less calories than what you expend every day for seven days, you will have created a deficit of 3500 calories. So, in theory, you should have burned ½ kilo of fat in one week. This is the case, unless the dieter gets too carried away and the gap between input and output becomes more than 1000 calories.

Do not make the mistake of thinking less is more. Eat less and move more, but you need to figure out how many calories you are eating and how many calories you are burning so you can maintain a healthy balance.A healthy deficit is around 500 calories a day. For 100kg plus people that are exercising, up to 1000 is possible but no higher.

I will cover more on how to figure out your energy output and input in the following posts.

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What’s the sweet deal with chocolate?


I like chocolate. I mean, I really really like chocolate. And as much as I love to hear all the great press about chocolate containing anti oxidants and being good for you, I still know that consuming too much will make me fat.

But what is it about chocolate that is so bad for us?

Well, basically there are three ingredients that make chocolate taste so great. Sugar, fats and cocoa.

As you can see from the nutritional info from my favorite chocolate on the right, 51g out of 100g is sugar, 37g fat and just 6g protein.

No wonder it tastes so damn good! I like chocolate…

Instead of eating milk chocolate, consider trying dark chocolate. You still get that rich chocolate taste which can actually satisfy your craving by eating a smaller amount. With a higher cocoa content, dark chocolate does contain significantly higher levels of antioxidants than milk chocolate and a lot less sugar.    36 grams less sugar to be exact! Great for diabetics.

Yes dark chocolate does contain a little more fat than it’s milkier bother, but it is still by far, the healthier option.

Did I mention, I like chocolate?? 🙂

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Why the universe doesnt want you to have abs!


Another clue as to why we sometimes struggle to lose weight may lay with our ancestors.

If we look at the lifestyle and eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors, we may better understand the constant battle we now face in fighting fat.

For millions of years, human beings have been hunters and gatherers by nature. The Males role was predominantly to impregnate women, create children then provide shelter and food. There was no dialing for a pizza. To feed hungry mouths, the man of the house would have to hunt and kill dinner to feed his family.

When a man puts on weight, the first place fat tissue gathers is around the abdomen. Unfortunately, this is also the last place the fat comes off too.

When we think of prehistoric man, we often conjure up images of Spartan like men with six pack abs and bulging biceps. This however was probably not the case. The reason? Firstly, once a kill had been made, large portions of food would be eaten to avoid spoilage or loss from scavengers. This was often followed by prolonged famine. This process forces the body to hold on to as much body fat as possible in order to increase chances of survival. The other reason is pre programmed genetics.

Pre Programmed Genetics

Our bodies are designed to evolve to ensure the continuation of human existence and pro creation. As the role of a male Homo Sapien was to make sure he and his dependents were fed; and knowing that food often came in the form of dangerous wild animals, the male anatomy developed some safety features. Fat gathers around the stomach region to protect vital organs and increase the chances of survival if attacked. Thankfully these days we do not need to hunt for our dinner!

In the case of Women, who’s main purpose was to bear and raise children, fat tissue would naturally (and still does) tend to gather around the hips to protect the child bearing organs. Again, for woman, this is the first place excess calories will be stored and the last place it will come off.

Fat tissue is also one of the best forms of insulation, another reason why fat gathers around our vital organs. You will find that races of people that live in warmer climates find it far easier to keep fat off, as the body does not require it for insulation. People that live in colder climates struggle more to shift the weight as the body instinctively needs it to stay insulated.

Although we now live in a much safer and controlled environment, unfortunately for us, these safety features are already pre programmed into our genetics. All you need to do is look around and see the areas men and woman generally will store their body fat.

So as you can see, we are not actually designed to have six pack abs. Having abs is actually highly un natural, hence the difficulties men and woman have with shifting fat from those protective regions.

The healthy range of body fat for men to maintain is between 12 – 18% and women 18 – 26%. For the abdomen muscles to be noticed, the outer layers of fat need to be reduced to around 6-8%. Going against nature, you need to understand the body to know how to trick it into letting go of fat stores.

Despite the fact that we are constantly faced with battling our pre programmed genetics, if we make our health and fitness a priority, we can win the fight against fat!

My 3rd Body Building Comp in 2006

Fortunately for us, these days fresh vegetables, butchered meats and dairy is so readily available and we can pretty much consume quality foods whenever we wish.

When good food is so much more convenient than any other time in history, there is really no excuse to opt for bad convenience foods. Make your health a priority!

I know how hard it is to get abs and I can tell you, the process to getting them is not easy. Exercising two hours a day and eating a super strict diet is not what many people consider “Natural behavior”! The good news is, once you have them, they are much easier to maintain.

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Is your vacation “Worth the Weight”?


Is Holiday Weight Gain (HWG) an unavoidable phenomenon?

Maybe returning home with extra baggage around your middle, is just one of those things we need to experience in order to enjoy a good holiday. I actually know people that use the increased number of notches on their belt as an indication of how much they enjoyed their holiday!

We all know that once we step away from our homes, our routine and our refrigerators, our ability to eat right and get the same level of exercise can be tricky. Most of us are resigned to thinking that it is just impossible to eat well, exercise and still enjoy our holiday and as a result, we often just give up and expect to return home several kilos heavier. But this does not have to be the case.

Here are my top ten tips for you to enjoy your holiday, whilst minimizing the impact to your waistline.

  1. Eat often. With so much to see and do, we sometimes forget to eat. Leaving large gaps between meals will force your metabolism to slow down and make your body store fat. Try and eat five to six times a day, or at least every three to four hours.
  2. Move more. Choose activities that require you to use your legs and expend the calories you eat. Burn some rubber on your flip flops and get out and about to see what your destination has to offer! Generally when we are on holiday, we tend to move a lot more than we would during a normal day at work. With these extra calories burned, sneaking a beer or two after a hard days sightseeing, can be possible without gaining weight.
  3. Stay away from processed foods. If you look at the label and even when it is written in English, you still don’t understand what it is, yet alone be able to pronounce it, try to avoid it. Stick to meals consisting of whole foods. After all, the fresh aromatic flavors of freshly cooked foods will be what you remember about your holiday. Not the snack from a vending machine.
  4. Try not to eat carbohydrate rich foods alone. Adding a little protein and fat will slow down the absorption of the meal and provide a longer release of energy. Carbohydrates can cause spikes of blood sugar which makes the body release insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for storing body fat.
  5. Watch the soda and juices. Sightseeing can be thirsty work! Make sure you always have plenty of filtered water with you to stay hydrated. Avoid soda or fruit juices that will add another 100 calories each glass!
  6. Cut the carbs at dinner. Avoid eating rice, noodles, breads, potato and any other carbohydrate rich foods at dinner time. Your body can only burn fat when 80% of your carbohydrate stores are burned. Try choosing meals with lots of fresh veggies (except root veges) and easily digested proteins such as chicken, fish or seafood.
  7. When in Asian countries, avoid meals containing MSG. Try finding out what the locals call MSG and request none to be added when ordering your meal. In the Philippines MSG is referred to as Vetsin. Monosodium Glutamate is a commonly used flavor enhancer that can cause nausea and headaches. Many people can be sensitive to MSG and this is not something you want to discover while on holiday!
  8. Eat up big at breakfast! After a long sleep, it’s important to refuel the body. A big feed at breakfast will give you the energy to get your day started.
  9. Buy a “Fit Band”.A Fit Band can fit in the side pocket of your suitcase and there

    Fit Bands. Approx. $20ea

    are literally hundreds of exercises you can do with them. Learn a few basic exercises and start or end the day with 15 minutes of exercise. In my next post I will go through a few basic exercises.

  10. Get some sleep. Without at least six hours of quality sleep a night, your body will release cortisol. Cortisol in normal levels helps support many bodily functions. But in high levels it can impair digestion, metabolism and mental function. This can leave us feeling stressed and weakens the immune system making us more susceptible to picking up any bugs we encounter.

So go and enjoy your vacation. Experience the amazing flavors and aromas unique to each country you visit and see the sights you traveled to see.

With just a little preparation and thought there is no reason why you can’t enjoy your holiday and still return home without the extra baggage in your trunk!

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