Hey everyone. There’s a bunch of questions that people always ask me about fitness, nutrition and how to achieve their fitness goals. So I thought why not post them up here for everyone to see! Hope you find them useful!
How many times a week should I work out?
When you’re focused on improving your physique it’s easy to overdo it by hitting the gym every day. You start to think “if I workout more, I’ll see even more improvement”. Well, it’s important to workout regularly but it’s also important to give your body time to rest so that it can recover and so that you don’t get burnt out. I’ve never done more than three weights sessions a week. Not once a day, THREE PER WEEK! I work out for 45 minutes but that’s 45 minutes of continual intense activity. No hanging around by the water cooler or checking my phone. Make your sessions count and hit it hard for the time you’re at the gym, then chill out for the rest of the week.
How much cardio should I do?
The amount of cardio you do is partly dependent on what you want to achieve with your body. If you’re already quite lean and are looking to build muscle then you may only want to do cardio twice or even once a week. However if you’re trying to get leaner and shed fat then three times a week is a good balance. Personally I will aim for three HIIT cardio sessions of 15-20 minutes after I do weights when I’m looking to cut back. Check out my post on HIIT here.
What are macros?
Macronutrients or ‘macros’ are basically the three food groups of protein, carbohydrates and fats. They are all important and form part of a balanced diet. Each meal should contain a mix of all three from good, clean food sources. Protein is an essential part of building a strong, healthy and lean body. Fats provide the body with energy and some essential nutrients whilst carbohydrates are also great for fuelling your workouts (my favourites include sweet potato and brown rice which are lower GI). Check out this calculator to work out your own macros. Diet is undoubtedly one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing when it comes to transforming your physique.
How much protein should I have?
The general rule of thumb is 2g of protein per day per kg of body weight for someone who regularly lifts weights. So if you weight 85kg then 170-180kg is a fair maintenance level. But you may want to flex that up or down a little depending on your body composition and goals.
Should I use protein shakes?
Yes! When it comes to protein shakes you have nothing to worry about; they are a great way to quickly get nutrients straight to your muscles after a workout because your body doesn’t have to spend time digesting them. It’s important that you buy a well respected and trusted brand however, as there are some lower quality products on the market. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Diet Supplements to find out which are best. But remember – protein shakes and supplements are NOT a replacement for real food.
Should I cut out carbs?
No! It’s a popular misconception that cutting out carbs is sure-fire way to improve your physique. But it’s not sustainable and is likely to make you feel pretty tired and lethargic, as well as potentially slowing down your metabolism. It’s important to get the balance right for your body. Focus on low GI carbs which are lower in sugar and will be slowly absorbed by your body with a gradual energy release over time.
Which other supplements should I use?
There are a lot of products in magazines, online or in health food shops which promise big gains and incredible transformations. But you shouldn’t believe all the marketing hype. A great body comes with maintaining focus and discipline over a number of months and there are no overnight fixes. That said, there are some supplements which you should consider adding to your nutrition plan like Amino Acids or Creatine. But it’s important to note that these supplements are a waste of time if you’re not making sure the core part of your fitness game is in good form – and by that I mean your workouts and eating clean, real food.
Can I drink alcohol?
There’s no way to sugar-coat this, alcohol isn’t great for your body (but you already knew that). Alcohol has more calories per gram than fat and every night out is basically a ton of empty calories that are wasting all the hard work you’ve put in. If you go for drinks regularly then try to limit yourself to one night a week. Vodka with soda water and a shot of fresh lime is the best option. Mixers like coke, lemonade and tonic water all contain a load of sugar which will kill that ab definition.
How did you get so lean?
There’s no magic formula to this! It’s all about working out three times a week, getting your HIIT or other cardio in and sticking firmly to a clean diet which is giving you the right balance of protein, carbs and fats. But you need to make some sacrifices along the way – reduce your alcohol intake, cut out sugary foods and give-up processed meals! Check out my diet tips for a summer six-pack here.
Do I need to do lots of ab exercises?
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people in the gym doing endless ab crunches and sit-ups in the hope that it’s going make a six-pack magically appear. Yes, it’s important to work your abs but diet is much more important that crunches in revealing that ab definition. If you go to the gym regularly then it’s quite likely that you already have a good set – you just need to trim back a little fat to reveal them and that comes with HIIT and nutrition. Think about your abdominals like you would any other muscle group – you should do a few sets of things like weighted crunches and medicine ball twists but there is no need to spend hours on them – the other exercises you do like squats or even bicep curls will all involve you tensing your core, helping to tone your abs.
Can I maintain a six-pack physique for the whole year?
The million dollar question! I’m not going to lie, it is pretty hard (and probably undesirable) to maintain ‘peak’ physical condition all year around. Especially if you have the aim of building some muscle size as well. What’s most important (at least for me) is staying healthy, happy and fit and if that means being within 15-20% of your personal best shape then that’s fine, because you can get back to your beach body best when summer comes!
How do you keep to your nutrition plan during the week?
One of the most used apps on my phone is MyFitnessPal. It’s incredibly useful in keeping track of what I’ve eaten and whether I’m hitting my daily macros. It has literally thousands of food products from all the major supermarkets programmed into a database so you can barcode scan what you’re eating and immediately keep track. When it comes to making sure you eat healthily whilst at work, I’m afraid you will have to give up those quick pre-made sandwiches and make sure you’re eating real, proper food like tuna, sliced chicken and turkey, salmon, mackerel, sweet potato, brown rice or pasta. Prep food on a Sunday and bring it into work, or buy food whilst you’re out from your local supermarket.
So that’s it. If you’ve got any other fitness and nutrition questions you’d like me to answer then ping me a message