Let's be honest,
There are some foods that you're just not 100% sure on whether you should be eating them or not if you're trying to improve your health, shape and fitness.
When you do eat these foods you sometimes feel guilty, like you have no will power and you also feel like your hard work has gone right out the window.
And there's not many foods that garners as much opinion of whether it is 'good' or 'bad' that good old fashioned, BREAD.
So what's the first thing that pops into your head when i ask, does bread make you fat?
and can it be included on a transformation diet?
It's seems you're split.
A recent poll i ran over on the Chris Mason Performance Facebook page told me that 53% did in fact believe that bread made you gain weight and or body fat.
So what's the deal with the loaf?
Structurally speaking, bread is combination of mostly carbohydrate, some protein, a little fat and fibre.
The type of carbohydrate is a complex carbohydrate.
Complex carbohydrates are a combination of simple sugars molecules bonded together in long and complex chains.
Compared to the faster to digest simple sugars (that structurally are one to two sugar molecules known as monosaccharides and disaccharides), complex carbohydrates have much more of an impact on blood sugar levels, create feelings of fullness and slow down digestive transit time.
The key difference between wholegrain bread and white breads is the milling process that occurs to create white bread essentially removes the bran and germ leaving only the endosperm.
When the bran and germ are lost, so are important nutrients such as fibre (which is important for a healthy digestive and excretory system as well as being pivotal for decreasing hunger levels) alongside important vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.
The process that creates white versions of our favourite foods such as breads, pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, flours to create confectioneries and pastries means that you're left with not as much of the good stuff compared to the wholegrain versions.
Essentially what's happened during that process is all the good stuff that contribute to our health and well-being are lost and refined part of the foods are left.
We already know that the more refined or 'simple' the food sources are blood sugars are likely to rise and fall faster, energy slumps are more common, hunger and sugar cravings are greater and you don't have the same feelings of fullness compared to the versions of those foods that have been left structurally intact.
In a word..... No it doesn't!
Not one singular food has the ability to make you gain weight just by eating it.
Consuming more calories than you expend is still and will always be the number one reason behind weight and body fat gain.
And unless you're suffering with coeliac or auto-immune disease i wouldn't say that bread cannot be a part of a healthy and active lifestyle. I would just recommend opting for the wholegrain versions of bread over the refined versions of course.
If you want to arm yourself with better information as to how to achieve better results without falling for common nutritional myths and misconceptions here are two articles to help you on your way
Reducing Calories For Fat Loss
My Top Ten Tips For A Body Transformation Result
And if you're struggling to know what to do in the gym for results, grab a copy of my 21 Day KickStart Program for free by dropping your email into the box below.
Feel free to share this with your friends if you found this useful,
I'm off to eat a sandwich, wholegrain of course 😉
Yours In Health,
In my mind Christmas isn't a time to be following a rigid, calorie controlled diet.
The rest of the year, yes.
I found this out more so when i dieted over Christmas and the New Year period for a photo shoot once and let me tell you that eating a chicken salad while everyone around eats ALL of the treat you want is zero fun
But i'm also a realist and know that most of you are going to want to enjoy the festive period by getting away with putting on as little weight and body fat as possible if you can help it.
Because deep down, we all want to look good or stay looking good
So here are 5 tips you can apply straight away to give you the best chance of achieving exactly that over Christmas so you haven't got to start all over again in January.
1. Focus On Wholebody Training Sessions
3-4 times per week to create a greater training effect, stimulate more calorie expenditure, burn more treats and increase muscle protein synthesis through frequent muscle activation. Pair them in a superset fashion like in German Body Composition Training and you're good.
2. Hit Those Big Moves
Bench Presses, Squats, Deadlifts, Pulldowns, Rows, Leg Presses, Chin Ups are in and bicep curls and calf raises are out.
Multi joint and multi muscle exercises that give you more bang for your buck and mean you can be in and out of the gym in no time and really ramp up both your calories burned during the workout and the 'afterburn' (Excessive Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption - EPOC) after your workout!
3. Time Your Treats Around After Your Exercise Session.
After a good workout, the body is able to utilise more calories for repair and growth and is also more able to uptake nutrients more so into muscle cells as you're driving blood flow and influencing the demand for energy there by following points 1 and 2.
This 'recovery' period can stay elevtaed for upto 24hrs, maybe more if you've really hit your workouts hard so without a doubt ost workout is the ideal place to 'cheat' with your mince pies, christmas cake and brandy snaps!
4. Do Some Strongman or HIIT At The End Of Your Training Sessions If You Can.
Farmers walks, Sled pushes, Sled drags, Log Carries
or jump on a Airbike and hit 10x of 10seconds all out with 50 seconds recovery
or if you have more time feel free to do some steady state cardio for 20-30 minutes
Whatever floats your boat / you have time for really.
Here's an article to help you improve your cardio results;
5. Increase Your General Activity.
Non exercise active thermogenesis (NEAT) accounts for the majority of your calorie expenditure during any given day and is an easy way to burn calories without knowing it.
- take the stairs instead of the lift
- try to hit 10,000 steps per day (especially if you have a sedentary job)
- take the dog on a longer route
- go for a bike ride with the kids
- don't take the car to go to the corner shop
Simple stuff that can mean a lot.
6. Cycle Between High Calorie Days and Low Calorie Days
To gain fat you need to be in a constant calorie surplus, that you already know.
But what if we kinda balanced the whole calorie equation out so that we didn't gain as much body fat but still enjoyed Christmas? Well, you could do this for starters that would help.
Alternate between low calorie days where your focus is on foods like lean proteins, veggies, salads and not as many carbs or fats because YOU KNOW you're going to be eating all of the foods come Christmas Day.
22nd - Low Calorie
23rd - Low Calorie
24th - All of the food
25th - All of the food
26th - All of the food
27th - Low Calorie
28th - Low Calorie
Whilst you might not completely balance your intake, you will be going a long way to offsetting putting a lot of body fat on if you eat everything and anything.
And whilst you're here, if you want a headstart for 2018 download your FREE 21 KickStart exercise program by entering your email address below and i will send it over asap.
Call it an early Christmas Present to help get / keep you in shape.
So there you have it,
Live, love, laugh and be merry this Christmas without watching the scales!
Here are some of the results our clients have achieved!
We recently held a poll over on the Chris Mason Performance Facebook page asking YOU which areas of your body you felt were the hardest to change.
And the results are in…
An overwhelming 81% of you find it harder to lose fat from your stomach than you do elsewhere. So, what we’re going to down here is break down (sorry, I couldn’t help it) exactly how you can lose stubborn body fat for good.
Personally, I’ve also always found that the last places to drop for me and my body type are almost always my abdomen and upper back body fat stores.
STUBBORN BODY FAT?
The thing about the Human body is that it is not too dissimilar to times when we lived in caves, hunted for food and faced the threat of famine, disease or even being eaten or killed ourselves.
From an evolutionary point of view the human genome just hasn’t changed that much, especially not as it relates to fat storage. If there are excess calories available, the body will find a place to store those extra calories for a time when those calories may be needed for fuel or for our very survival.
Mechanistically, it is that simple.
However, what isn’t simple is where we store those extra calories and why we store them there.
To highlight this fact,
Look around your office, your family or your friends and just look how differently we’re all shaped.
And how differently each person stores body fat.
But one thing that we do know is from what we understand about the unique differences between Men and Women as it relates to body fat.
ANDROID VS GYNOID FAT STORAGE
Physiologically speaking, Men and Women are very different.
Some have described Women as being more ‘pear shaped’ and Men more ‘apple shaped’.
Men tend to store more body fat on their abdomen and lower back where as Women tend to store body fat more on their hips, thighs and bum.
At least that’s how it should have been.
However, due to the rise and rise of calorie consumption, inactivity and just generally an all round unhealthy lifestyle Men and Women are starting to take on each other’s body fat storage profile and end up storing body fat in all areas more so than their physiological preferential storage sites.
We also know that in the case of stubborn areas of body fat there are usually more alpha -2 adrenoreceptors in your stubborn areas than there is beta -2 adrenoreceptors. These adrenoreceptors basically influence what goes into and out of the fat cell.
From a simplistic point of view, when these alpha -2 adrenoreceptors and associated enzymes are stimulated on the fat cell more is going IN to be stored than what is going out.
And so when beta -2 adrenoreceptors and associated enzymes are stimulated on the fat cell more is going OUT to be used as fuel than what is going in.
But here is the kicker;
Whether you’re lean right through to be obese, your body will be carrying anywhere between 40 Billion and 200 Billion fat cells.
That’s a hell of a lot.
And each one of these fat cells has their own adrenoreceptors that YOU are trying to influence in order to lose body fat.
A SIDE NOTE ON HORMONES AND BLOOD FLOW
I want to try to make this article actionable and useful rather than confusing and complicated but you also need to know two other important factors when it comes to body fat, stubborn or otherwise.
Of course you will already know that Men and Women produce very different hormones which have very different influences on the body.
Men produce more hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone whereas Women produce more Oestrogen and Progesterone.
Simply put, one person is designed to carry the baby and the other is designed to help provide what’s needed to create the baby.
But this also means that these hormones, along with others, help shape what makes a Man a Man (higher muscle mass, stronger skeletal structure, larger cardiorespiratory system, abdominal adiposity) and a Woman a Woman (lower ability to create muscle, greater fat storage efficiency, smaller skeletal structure and cardio respiratory systems, greater fat storage located near the womb).
But back to fat loss.
The key hormones to consider as it relates to fat loss are catecholamines (adrenalin / noradrenalin) and insulin.
Basically, they have a see-saw relationship that we must understand if you’re going to lose stubborn belly fat.
When catecholamines are high and insulin is low we have a greater chance of these catecholamins binding to the beta -2 ‘switch’ that help us breakdown body fat.
But when catecholamines are high or low but insulin is HIGH we have a greater chance of these catecholamines binding to the alpha -2 ‘switch’ that helps build body fat.
Unless you’re having to inject insulin, guess the one thing that makes our bodies create it the most……
And having fast cake hands is catestrophic if you’re trying to lose fat.
It is even more difficult because;
Feel free to add your own to this list.
And whilst ever there is an overabundance of carbohydrates and fats in the bloodstream from the diet, there is no reason for your body to break down calories from stored body fat.
Unfortunately, to lose fat the answer will always have to be less calories (but not always less food FYI)
Let’s say that everything is perfect with your bodies ability to breakdown fat (it’s not by the way but let’s go with it).
What happens next?
Well the fats that you’re breaking down from your stubborn body fat stores have to be transported on something. And this is where bloodvessels (arteries, veins and capillaries) come in.
Bloodvessels are very much the road map at which the traffic of bloodflow travels on.
And guess what?
Typically, the most stubborn stores of body fat that you want rid of also have the poorest blood flow.
So two things to consider here;
It’s likely that you’re reading this not because you want to know about adrenreceptors, fat storage patterning and so on but more so because you want to change the parts of your body that affect your confidence and mood the most.
I understand that.
But understanding how things work, however complex or simple, is an important part of learning how to get what you want so hopefully I’ve at least helped teach you a thing or two about fat loss that you may not have known or considered before.
How can you ensure that you’re doing the best that you can in order to stimulate the mechanisms needed to lose body fat?
It’s kind of simple really and much of this you know but for whichever reason aren’t following through in the way you should if you’re not seeing results.
The Three most important things that you can CONTROL are;
Diet I have already wrote pretty extensively on but the most important article for you to read on nutrition for fat loss is below.
As I have with exercise and training which you can read my most popular articles below;
NEAT is a pretty simple one which is often overlooked.
Simply put, what you do outside of the gym counts too (even not more) and NEAT is essentially how many calories you’re burning just through general activity daily such as
Obviously the biggest challenge you have if you have a sedentary job, frequent travel or low general activity during the day is that you will be lowering your NEAT contributions so just don’t rely on the gym, try and do more if you can.
Whilst at times it can seem that we have parts of our body that just refuse to change no matter what we do and frustrate you no end, the truth is that I am yet to meet someone who cannot change even the most stubborn of areas when nutrition, exercise and NEAT are combined with commitment and discipline (with the watchful eye of myself or one of my coaches I have to add, I know how hard it is going it alone and not knowing what to change or do next when you’re frustrated at things not going the way you want)
And whist it is clichéd of me to point out I am going to finish the article by letting you know that YOU are the one with the proverbial keys to the kingdom.
1. Plant your feet and try not to move them whilst performing the lift. Watch for the knees coming in or out excessively.
2. Work to YOUR range of motion. You don’t need to go ‘ass to grass’ for the squat to be effective and especially not if you don’t have the range or have to change how you execute the lift.
3. Brace your core tightly during and pull the bar down hard against your traps (neck area) whilst contracting your lats against the bar (back muscles).
4. Try to ‘push the floor away from you’ rather than just lift. You want to keep your feet planted and don’t want to transfer the load onto your toes where you’re likely to lift your heels and create instability.
5. Keep your head in the game. When the lift gets a bit ‘grindy’ and bar speed slows, do not panic. Hold your form and finish your rep.
I had slowly been putting on weight without really realising it!
My clothes were feeling tighter, not fitting properly I kept trying to make excuses the dryer had shrunk them!
I kept telling myself that the fit wasn’t right anymore, that we all change body shape as we get older but all the time I knew this wasn’t true and really what i had done was indulged in chocolate and cakes as a comfort resulting in a viscous cycle of feeling really bad about how I looked.
My fitness levels were suffering I noticed that I struggled walking up hill despite the fact I was doing vinyassa yoga several times a week and regular walking with my dog. I regarded myself as quite an active person but clearly I wasn’t.
In March this year I turned 60 but really struggled to fit into any of my clothes for my Birthday celebrations and when I saw the photos of myself I was completely horrified and knew i had to make a change.
That photo made me face reality and accept I needed to sort myself out in order to feel better about myself.
Since training with Chris I have lost a huge amount of weight and even better body fat in what I regard as a short period of time.
I now feel full of energy and i sleep a LOT better too!
I’m more alert and the best thing for me is that all my cravings for sweet things has gone.
I now feel fitter and younger confident to go swimming knowing I look good for my age and perhaps the best part is that I have received lots of compliments from friends and family!
Overall it has been a massive boost to my self confidence and I no longer cringe when I look in the mirror.
I would say don’t accept it!
Especially when you don’t have to if you change your eating and exercise habits. Clearly as you get older the process can be slower but I feel that if i can achieve these results in just 20 weeks then anybody can! My progress so far has been amazing, I feel really proud of what I have achieved up to this point and with all the positive encouragement it’s spurred me on even more!
It is not inevitable that we develop middle age spread and double chins I firmly believe that if I can achieve these results at 60 anyone can, I definitely will never go back to how I was.
The thing that surprised me most about my transformation was the speed in which it happened , and actually how easy the food plan has been.
The food plan wasn’t restrictive, which i thought it might have been.
At no point have I struggled or felt hungry, it’s been a vast improvement on what i was doing before that’s for sure!
Definitely! I feel the biggest thing i have now is clarity and knowing what to do that suits me.
The knowledge about nutrition and exercise Chris equips you with is everything you need and he is always there to offer support, advice and encouragement .
In no way do I feel I have had to deprive myself of the occasional treat as I now realise its all a balance. Chris has shown me that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, which means I feel confident now to control my diet and make the right choices about foods so that i don’t put that weight back on again!
For anyone thinking of joining this program the only thing i can say is do it today!
Its a decision you will never regret and yes it is hard work and requires commitment but the results you achieve make it well worth it.
Throughout the last 20 weeks I have faced many challenges such as a sick elderly mother to care for, a new grandchild and a badly sprained ankle whilst walking the dog of all things.
But all of which I have dealt with and continued to follow Chris’s program. I know that we all have busy lives which throw up different issues but had these things happened in the past there is no way i would have still made the progress that i have with the support of Chris and the team.
I feel loads better in myself and have got way more energy, I’m feeling a lot better at work and way less tired!
Working long hours, this has been a huge help to me and i’m finding that i’m not as hungry as i have been when i’ve tried to lose weight in the past. Overall, i feel much better for losing the weight and i am glad that i made the decision and joined CMP.
I had seen your transformations of other Men with a similar starting position to where i was and thought, why not me?
I came here for a total lifestyle change,
I had been doing zero exercise since breaking my leg playing football and needed some guidance as I had been letting myself go and needed to do something about it.
I knew i was gaining weight and didn’t feel good in the clothes i was wearing as everything was getting a bit too tight for my liking.
I knew if i had joined a gym without getting any sort of guidance on food, i would still just have done what i wanted and this wouldn’t have been enough for me to see the results that i have with you.
The most surprising thing has been that i’ve never felt like i’m on diet.
I didn’t find it restrictive at all!
and what surprised me probably the most has been that over the 12 weeks I managed to have a weekend away with my friends, I had a week long family holiday in Mallorca and have been on 3 away days following my football team but still lose 24lbs and can see the outline of my abs!
The results i’ve achieved considering all of this have blown me away.
CMP gave me advice on how to make small adjustment with my diet and alcohol choices which meant I could still enjoy all these events and keep on track for success with my results.
Go for it!
They promise to get you results if you stick to what they say and they deliver on that promise without it being a major stress on your life.
Here is a nice little tip for you;
Try adding bands or chains to your bench press to increase the resistance of the exercise as the pecs move into their fully shorted (contracted) position.
This works very well because when you think about it,
Under normal conditions the bench press feels heaviest when the weight is at the bottom near your chest.
If you look at your pecs in this position, this is when they are fully LENGTHENED not shortened and thus means you’re not placing load when the pec fibres are at their point of peak contraction.
When we add in chains or bands, we’re now increasing the weight and resistance of the exercise when the pecs are moving into their fully SHORTENED position, which means we have more load on the fibres when they’re contracting the most.
This type of training fits well into both strength and hypertrophy programs and if you’re able to, you should definately give it a go.