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FAT LOSS, If you fail to plan then you plan to fail! Part 1 – Food

OK I admit it,

This subject may not be as sexy as how to burn fat in fifteen minutes or how to chisel your Abs with three killer exercises but it’s just as important as those two titles. In fact, NO, it’s more important than those two as it’ll do what they state and far more if you think ahead!

A lot of you read Gav’s great post last week stating Abs are made in the Kitchen not in the Gym!  This post goes one step further in our eternal quest to get as lean and healthy as possible! Yes the cool side effect of ‘our’ way of getting lean is that you also get into the best shape internally too (as many people look great on the outside, but they are a ticking time bomb on the inside).

You’ll be working with your body and not against it. Making the most of your energy levels. Drinking lots of good water. Tapping into the best sources of Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates.

Now this is all very well to do when you are at home and have everything at hand, but can it cross over to when you are at work? Do you prepare your meals and take them in to work, or buy when you are out and about?

The planning stage all starts before you go to the supermarket. Think ahead about what you’ll be eating that week in the morning, for lunch, and for dinner and then for the energising meals between that and your post workout meal.

Everyone is different but I tend to eat slightly higher carbs than say Gav (who I co-own UCB with). I’ll throw a few extra carbs in during the day, but they are from good sources and thought out, so they don’t take my blood sugar levels on a roller coaster every time I eat…… leading to poor energy levels, stress (through elevated cortisol levels), irritability, poor concentration, and so on. (and those sandwiches seemed like such a great idea 😉

BTW eating well will definitely help anyone with regulating the effects that glucose can take on the body. Insulin resistance will be a thing of the past and you’ll be working with your body and not against it!

You’ll see below that I’ll eat oats and quinoa on occasion, while Gav will follow more of a Paleo lifestyle. Through trial and a lot of error we have worked out what food (fuel) our bodies work best with. When Gav eats oats he gets lethargic and he can tell a difference in his physique after a few days. I tolerate them as I tolerate carbs better than most (lucky me). For optimal performance and feeling the best, then Paleo is a great meal plan to try for a while. Many say that once they give it a proper go, then they don’t go back. What is Paleo, READ HERE to find out.

So back to pre-supermarket planning. First thing to think of is protein sources. If you are following the protein and good fats breakfasts we advocate then you need to make sure you have protein and good fats at hand, if not you’ll just end up searching the cupboards realising all you have is an old box of crappy cereal and milk and eat that…. a recipe for an unproductive day of moods swings, energy crashes and cravings for bad foods.

Don’t always eat the same food sources, rotate your protein and fat you eat. >>>Read this<<< for why this breakfast will switch on your metabolism and have you bright eyed and bushy tailed everyday (while burning fat at the same time). You’ll see the protein and fat sources we advocate so get them on your shopping list and breakfast is dealt with!

I would tend to go for organic lamb, or beef, or chicken and eggs for protein. Fats will be from my of my favourite fruits, the avocado, and various nuts. High quality fish oils are a must too!

Just going off topic (if you know me well then you know that I tend to do this often) I hear a lot of people say that they eat well all day and then at night they will eat chocolate, biscuits, high glycemic cereals, drink a lot of alcohol, etc. Now is my time to let you all into a secret into stopping this for ever!

Plan ahead…… plan not to buy any of this stuff!! That’s right if you don’t have it in your cupboards then you won’t eat it! I often feel a little peckish for some chocolate at night but don’t eat any, because I don’t have any in the house! If I did I would eat it. Anyway just wanted to clear that up.

If you are a regular reader of our Blog then you know that we advocate to eat protein with every meal for a whole host of reasons. It helps regulate blood sugar levels (yes there’s that again), the calories in lean protein are good ones and so will give a nice thermic effect post meal, helping to boost your metabolism (much better than just eating carbs and fat alone). Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, and remember the more muscle you have and maintain then the more fat you will burn.

A great way of getting enough protein daily is to supplement with some. Long gone are the days of protein powders tasting like chalk and mixing like oil and water do… in other words not at all. They are a super convenient (I use this word a lot in here, because it’s convenient) effective way of hitting your daily protein requirements.

This can achieved post (after) workout, but unless you are an athlete then you’re probably not working out every day. So on non-training days I tend to have a scoop of protein powder with two scoops of organic oats and two table spoons of milled flax seeds. I add in a shake of cinnamon or mixed spice too for taste and the benefits of spices which can be anything from digestion aid (ginger), blood sugar blunting (cinnamon), antibacterial (nutmeg), antioxidant power (cloves) and a whole host more of positive effects.

It’s best to rotate protein powders so you don’t get too reliant on one as they all have slightly different nutritional profiles and just like I always like to keep the body guessing with different training protocols, I like to keep my nutritional needs guessing by mixing up food choices as much as possible. If you have chicken, every single day, then you are open to a recipe for disaster as your body will crave other nutrients that are derived from other sources. Mix things up to keep things interesting and to do you good. Variety is said to be the spice of life and this analogy seems to work especially well with nutrition.

I love protein and oats or PROATS as some call it as it tastes like a dessert and it’s possible to make up a dry mix in a tub, to take with me on the go. I then add water and mix it up with a spoon and hey presto, a tasty and nutritious meal.

We at UCB like a brand called Gaspari Nutrition who make Myofusion Protein. It mixes well, tastes amazing, even with water and has a great range of flavours (Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter or Cookies and Cream sound good to you?). If you know of others that you like then please mention in comments below and we’ll give them a try.

A scoop of Myofusion gives 24 grams of protein. Compare this to the average chicken breast that gives 30 grams and you can alter the amount you have accordingly. The marketing on a tub of this protein is geared towards men (as is the marketing on many tubs of protein). Just realise what it is (marketing) and that for the ladies out there it’s worth bearing in mind that the women’s protein tubs are usually the same protein in a different pretty tub with women’s marketing sprawled over them. Serving size will maybe be slightly less as the scoop is smaller, but that’s about the main difference.

To use a chicken breast analogy again it would be like saying a normal size chicken breast is great for men as it provides 30 grams of high grade protein to pack on muscle mass and strength while making you ripped. While for women they chop a third off the same chicken breast and charge a little more (incrementally) and say it’s the best protein to maximise fat loss and conserve lean muscle while setting your metabolism into overdrive to look great in that bikini this summer (where the guys will be ‘chick-en’ you out – boom boom)

Anyway back to the supermarket, and lets think about meals that you can pre-prepare the days before work, then chill in the fridge and packup everyday for a nutritious home made meal.

I’d be thinking protein sources of say chicken, turkey, tuna as a rule rotated. The turkey and chicken I would cook up for the week. The tuna would be in the no-drain cans that are so convenient these days.

I’d cook up a lot of mixed veg. This I’ll either buy fresh or frozen. I like the ease of frozen veg and I buy into the fact that it is frozen when fresh and just picked to preserve the nutrients. I don’t buy it canned though.

Next up I’ll go for either lentils or quinoa. Like I said earlier I’ll have a few carbs in the day, usually from oats (mixed as stated above) or from either fibrous and protein rich lentils or the superstar of pulses quinoa which is the only pulse to have a complete amino acid profile (so it’s an awesome vegetarian source of protein). Make sure you wash Quinoa properly before cooking as it can be covered saponin, which is bitter tasting, a quick rinse soon sorts this out.

I’ll buy nuts, usually my favourites are almonds, brazils, walnuts and cashew nuts. Once again rotate these for the reason stated above. Nuts are a great source of good fats, protein and fibre. Don’t eat too many at once, about 4-7 is a good bench mark depending on the nut in questions size and your physical size (brazils are much bigger than cashews as a rule).

So now I have bought and cooked the protein, the veg and the quality carbs (lentils/quinoa), then I’ll mix them together in some tupperware (go for ones without the PCP’s in for health reasons) and you have a great meal (or split into two then two meals) for your days at work. The nuts I’ll have through the day.

I’ll buy fruit and usually eat one piece a day. Apples and pears are great as they have a good amount of fibre. Blueberries and blackberries are good too, as are raspberries and strawberries. I’d advise using a fruit wash, or at least a good tap washing of the last few as they are doused in pesticides and trust me if those chemicals are designed to kill little bugs then then are not good for you and I.

Eggs are another thing I won’t be without. They are amazing and thank god the old research of them giving us high cholesterol has been disproven in a major way! Cholesterol is essential to our body, it’s the bad stuff that does the harm, for more info on this natural wonder then check this out, eggstra info for you 😉

I’ll either have eggs as part of my protein brekkie, or late at night. I always cook them (and pretty well everything else) in coconut oil. Have you tried extra virgin coconut oil…. it’s amazing and tastes great. Why is it amazing? Good question, read this!

Anyway to summarise, plan ahead to get the most out of your nutrition. Cook in advance. Don’t buy foods that you know are bad for you and buy lots of the ones that are good for you. Easy!

However…… if you are caught out and need to eat when on the run then the two places I would recommend are Marks and Spencer Simply Food and if you work in the City of London, the Great food outlet called POD. M&S can put a lot of salt into their products, so once again read the labels. I’ll usually go for a pack of chicken, a cucumber and a 200g tub of hummus. The do some good salads too, but avoid ones with pasta in and go easy on the dressings. Use your common sense. POD are amazing and some of their menu is well thought out, like their protein box or slow burner salad.

Comments below please guys and please, please, please LIKE our Facebook page

Tom @ UCB

btw People often ask if I ever eat out and Enjoy myself with food? My answer to this is of course. I love a great meal with friends, with a glass (ok maybe a few more than a glass) or two of wine once in occasion. It’s all about BALANCE.

By eating well most of the time (which I may add I love, and by adding spices and herbs and some thought to nutritious food, it tastes great), I can let go on those occasions and know that my body will deal with it much, much better than other people will who eat rich foods on a regular basis.


  • Rob 05/03/2012

    Great post Tom. I snack on almonds, cashews, brazil and walnuts through the day. What would you say is too many? I probably have 4-5 brazils, 10 cashews, 3 walnuts (I don’t like them as much) and 10 almonds in the morning and then maybe some in the afternoon. That too many you think?

  • tomucb 06/03/2012

    Sounds pretty good for you big guy. Your metabolism is running on high. You could maybe have a few more walnuts, or just throw them all in a tupperware box and snack on a small handful a few times a day. (Rob is about 6ft, 85kilos and very active, just to let everyone else know and change servings accordingly).

    A small handful is a good benchmark, just enough to cover half the area of your palm (not the whole hand!)

    Pecans are another good source, if a little expensive in the UK. Keep away from peanuts, as they don’t have the same benefits and are actually a legume. Also make sure the nuts are not salted, roasted, or processed.

    Natural as possible please and if you see they are from China then it may be a good idea to steer clear of them as they may suffer from fat rancidity (Thanks Steve Grant for this tip)

  • MIRIAM 09/03/2012

    Why are peanuts bad for you? I eat loads everyday mixed with pumpkin and sunflower seeds…


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