Thursday, 29 October 2015

Water for Weight Loss

I’ve mentioned this in previous articles, and preach it to my Bootcampers and Personal Training clients all the time, but I really can’t stress enough the importance of water.

We all know we should be drinking more water. But most people tend to confuse "fluids" with "water".

This confusion keeps them dehydrated, which if left unchecked, can lead to all sorts of problems including asthma, hypertension, diabetes, raised cholesterol, headaches, migraines, arthritis, depression and many more.
It may also interest you to know that you NEED to drink plenty of water to promote fat loss.

Our bodies are made up of about 75% water. It should stand to reason then that we cannot function optimally if we're even a little bit dehydrated.

Bedsides the obvious things (like blood) that are made up of water, all of our cells - that's every single cell that makes up our body, requires water.

When the body maintains its 70% balance point, the acid/alkaline balance of the blood stays closer to its optimum level, the transportation of nutrients around your body is improved, and just about every biological process going on in the body is working well.

Water is also used to flush out toxins and waste products from your system.

Joints (or more precisely, the fluid within your joints) requires hydration, meaning if you're dehydrated, your aches and pains will likely get worse. 

Got back pain? It's estimated that up to 80% of back pain could be caused by a lack of fluid in the intervertebral discs, meaning the "cushioning" in your spine isn't doing its job properly.

And going back to fat loss, you may have read in previous posts of mine that fat is where our bodies store toxins that are overloading the system. Our bodies can cope with a fair bit of abuse and will detox continuously; but they can't do everything! If you're consuming more toxins (from bad foods and drinks) than your body can detoxify, the rest has to go somewhere (because it can't just circulate around your body in your bloodstream), so it gets stored... in your fat cells.

While they're storing these toxins to save your life from over-toxicity, these fat cells cannot go anywhere. You need to detox and consume less toxins than your body can detoxify to allow some of these stored toxins to be released and expelled.

On top of this, you need WATER to flush out the system. Lots of water = better detoxing.

So how much water do we need?

While it varies depending on climate (sweat), exercise, respiration (how much are you breathing?), bodyweight, body composition, what you've eaten, and more; it's generally agreed that you should be drinking at least 1 litre of water per 50lb (about 22kg) bodyweight, per day.

More if you're exercising, doing a manual job, or living in a hot climate.

But not all drinks are made equal. By far the best way to rehydrate your tired body is to drink plain old water.

Just because drinks contain water, doesn't mean they hydrate you well. Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, alcohol, sugary juices etc – can all help to de-hydrate you. Yes you'll get somewater from them, but half of that will go towards detoxing the sugar etc in them. There is no substitute for plain WATER.

Don't think because you drink a glass of juice and 8 cups of tea a day that you're getting enough water. 

When you start a rehydration program, you may find you have to go to the toilet more - if you're kidneys are doing their job. The more you drink, the more you'll pee. Pretty obvious really.

You could also add a pinch of SEA salt to your water. Not enough to taste, just a pinch, maybe half a teaspoon into a litre of water. This can help with electrolyte balance and stop you from running to the toilet quite so often. There are also other health benefits to this (and no, it won’t raise blood pressure!). Just make sure it’s sea salt, NOT table salt.

And finally...


I highly recommend that you DON'T drink tap water!
Read my post here to find out why that is.

So what do I recommend?

One option is bottled water. Not ideal, but a lot better than tap water as it should be free of many of the chemicals and materials found in tap water. But you do run the risk of the BPA leaching into your water (which has many harmful properties). Basically, the plastic bottles that the water is stored in is not ideal - unless you want to be drinking plastic?!

So... My recommendation is to get yourself a GOOD water filtration system (not a brita water jug or the likes).

My personal recommendation (after looking at many options) is the Virgin Pure Waterbar.

Not as good as some of the expensive reverse osmosis machines available (£1000+!), but a fraction of the cost as you basically lease it, so you don't have to buy outright and the servicing and new filters etc are all included. 

It filters out all of the nasties in your tap water, and provides both hot and cold filtered water on tap (a massive bonus because even bottled water drinkers tend to use tap water for their tea/coffee and cooking!).

Personally this works out cheaper than bottled water anyway. I've got the T7 which is £23 a month - so about £6 a week. Even buying the big 5 litre bottles, drinking 2-3 litres a day like we should would cost £4-5 a week per person. So it's a no-brainer really!

I've spoken to the guys at Virgin Pure and they've given me a code to offer my readers/clients 2 months free when you sign up to their 12-month contract. So that saves you £46 already!

Just use the code PTMB when you order either on their website or by phone.
(Yes, if you're thinking I'm on the payrole here - guilty! If you sign up for your 2 free months, I also get 2 months free! Not exactly going to be retiring, but a nice bonus for me if you do sign up!)

I highly recommend you look into this and sign up for your waterbar - they do have a no-contract option available too, but it's costs a tad more, and what's the point? You'll always need clean drinking water!

Regardless of if you get the water filter though, start drinking more water, and reduce your intake of other drinks.

Aim for your 2-3 litres a day and see how you feel - it may surprise you how much better you feel when you're well hydrated!

Let me know if you feel the difference! :)

Thursday, 15 October 2015

What is a Good “Diet”?

These days everyone’s an expert. 
Your over/underweight friend, your mum who’s been to a slimming club, your work colleagues, the magazine you read… But what they’re telling you is often contradictory and conflicting.

The truth is there’s no one, perfect diet that works for everyone. LOTS of these things will work… for some people.

They key things to embrace are not the differences, but the common ground between all successful “Diets”.

For weight loss, yes, you will need to eat less calories than you burn (but that doesn’t necessarily mean eat less!)

All successful, healthy diets (you can have a successful unhealthy diet, but the results are short-term and you’ll feel terrible doing them – think “juice detox”, or powdered meal replacements!!) have a few things in common...

A good diet will address energy balance (calories in vs calories out) without a drastic reduction in calories, but through good nutrition and switching from high-calorie/low nutrient foods, to low-calorie/high nutrient foods. By making this switch you may be surprised at just how much you can eat and remain within your calorie goal, whilst also getting lots of nutrition from what you're eating.

It will look at health, nutrition, hydration, body composition (body fat % vs. lean/fat-free mass) and performance, not just weight.

The healthy diet will not be set, but flexible and constantly changing to meet your needs. This relies on you monitoring your progress and making appropriate adjustments to suit. If weight loss is slow, you’ll need to alter the diet in some way; if you lose weight, but your body fat % increases, you’ll need to immediately re-evaluate and make the necessary changes to make sure you’re losing fat and not muscle. A mistake many calorie-cutting diets make by dropping calories too low.

The point is – you can’t follow an “exact” plan permanently; the diet will change as your body does, and you’ll need to stay on top of this. That’s why your skinny friend can eat junk and not gain weight and you just need to look at a cake… It’s because their dietary requirements are DIFFERENT to yours, and in a year’s time, so will yours be!

The diet needs to be sustainable, not something that ends when you lose x-lbs, or go on holiday; not something that you suffer through for 3 weeks, and then revert to your old ways. You don’t “Go on a diet”, you change your eating habits.

And finally, the “Diet” will look outside of just food! Exercise is a crucial part of the energy balance equation, and if you want to burn more calories than you eat, this should be your first port of call before you start reducing food intake and restricting your nutrient intake. 
The bonus of doing it this way (as long as you don't overtrain) is that you may not even need to restrict your diet or eat less- if you burn more calories, you may be able to carry on as usual and still benefit; although exercise without a healthy diet is not likely to work wonders.

The key here is to change over to healthier foods that nourish your body. By restricting food intake, you also restrict nourishment, leading to ill-health rather than the vital, healthy body you want.

Use diet and exercise together to build a better, stronger you.

If you need more help, visit for information on Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.