Friday, 25 October 2013

Fasted Cardio

Fasted Cardio is a hot topic of debate- some believe it is the best way to get rid of the stubborn fat on your body, others completely dismiss it as unhelpful for fat loss, whilst others believe it can actually be detrimental to your lean body mass (the muscle on your body) and potential muscle gains.

Fasted Cardio is the aerobic exercise you would perform first thing in the morning prior to breakfast. Now some do this completely fasted- i.e. the last meal they had was the night before, whereas others take a protein source just before (usually a protein shake and BCAA supplement tablets) in the aim of preserving muscle.

I used to do fasted cardio 1-2 years ago. I would usually do a morning 45minute spinning class at around 6.30am before going to Uni. After the class i would immediately drink a protein shake and on my way out of the gym buy a Starbucks Porridge (there was a Starbucks inside my gym). Now during that time i didn't lift weights- i was more of a cardio girl. I was not too concerned about gaining muscle, as my main priority was losing fat. I mean now i understand that ideally you want to do BOTH (achieved by lifting weights and adding in cardio to suit your goals), but anyway that was what i did. I didn't find that i was low in energy. If i was tired i would drink a coffee in a flask on the way to the gym. I had enough energy to make "personal bests" in terms of km on the spin bike. I also found that because my uni degree was so demanding, waking up early and getting my gym session done at a time where i would usually be in bed worked for me.

Now, 1-2 years later, i have reviewed a lot of the science data that is out there, and listened to a few podcasts by well respected scientists, phd/master graduates and notorious industry figures. Here are some facts I gathered:

- your glycogen stores deplete 50% just from sleeping (overnight fast). Glycogen is a fuel source, and one that will typically be used during aerobic exercise.
-Those that say fasted cardio burns the muscle is stemmed from the idea that if your glycogen level is low, the body will want to preserve it and so will use the fats as fuel instead.
-To burn fat on your body it required liberation of Fatty Acids from the fat tissues which are then transported to the muscle, liver and heart where they are oxidised for energy.
-The critics say that this fat-burning process which requires liberation and oxidation occurs over DAYS and not hours. They therefore say that just by having an overnight fast it would not lead to the body using fats as an alternate source.
-Science studies have shown that as a general rule, if you burn carbohydrates during a workout then you inevitably burn more fast in the post-exercise period. Thus over 24 hours, the ones who exercise in a fed state burn more fat than those that exercise in a fasted state.
-True fat loss boils down to diet as opposed to trying to trick the body to utilise its fat stores. You must review your macronutrient intake of protein, carbohydrates and fats during the day.
-Pre workout and Post workout are the 2 more essential meal times in terms of optimising muscle gains. To lose the pre workout window can be detrimental.
-Studies have shown a greater Nitrogen Loss when fasted. Nitrogen is a molecule which makes up Protein, and so this is evidence or potential detrimental catabolism (breaking down) of muscle.
-If you are still keen on fasted cardio, the recommendation is to keep heart rate between 60-65% max and to ideally take a protein shake or BCAA supplement tablets just before.
-Food is not going to stop you from breaking down fat. It isn't as simple as "i wont eat, then i'll exercise and then i'll lose fat". In fact, when you food there is a "thermic effect" whereby energy is used to break it down, and this creates an afterburn. The afterburn is thus higher when exercising in a fed state, leading to an overall greater caloric burn.
-If you don't have enough energy in the morning to really go hard in your exercise routine then it is not going to really be beneficial.

Hope this helps!

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Mind

We control the environment we live in, the circumstances and events we face. Some think the answer to problems is to change the circumstances, but the truth is it all lies within us. We have to change our outlook to the external events, and we evoke the positive changes that are necessary for us to live a happy, fulfilled life. Every goal made can be achieved- you have to believe it in every cell of your body. It has to be a fixed, unshakeable belief which cannot be broken down by doubt - in your mind or from other people. People have powers over other people- and what i mean by this is that we are susceptible to other people’s suggestions. Some are more than others. We have to believe so strongly, that we don’t allow doubt, fear or worry to break down the belief. We also must surround ourselves with positivity and symbols of success and accomplishment- both from thinking it and saying it to yourself over and over again, but also from people around us. Everything we hear, say, speak in turn has a knock on effect on the things we feel and how we act and view things. We can set the wheels in motion to achieve our goals just by believing that they can be achieved. Belief also comes from habitually and repetitively saying things to ourselves. Once we fully believe, and have faith and expectancy that it will come true, then it will. The mind is powerful. To be the best you have to not only believe that you can be the best, but also that you will be the best. Positive reinforcement and expectancy is paramount. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Strength Of Mind

I have become more and more engrossed with the bodybuilding and fitness industry, and with it has come watching videos of Arnold, discussing his past and how his vision lead him to set his eyes on a goal and never give up- to keep pushing when others told him he was crazy or would never achieve it- and allowed every barrier to strengthen him and fuel his desire. His life is truly inspiring, and his videos are motivating. I would truly recommend watching them all because he is a martyr for setting your eyes on a goal- WHATEVER that may be- and not giving up until you reach it. I believe that is what makes a champion. 

I started thinking about my own experience and how far I had come. One thought in particular was to do with me being an anomaly of my family- casual thought of the day. Now my great-uncle used to do bodybuilding competitions in Malta (something i didn't learn until recently), now other than that ONE RELATION, no other family member- close or distant- has a faint interest in exercise, nutrition, or having a healthy lifestyle. I come from a maltese family who believe eating in abundance is a sign of health, and gaining weight (albeit not huge amounts) is actually a good thing. My grandma on my mum side loved to cook, and was always in the kitchen setting up 3 course meals for them all, and so my mum recalls this as being the norm. All her siblings are overweight- 2 had anorexia as teens, and the other had bullimia. My dad used to be skinny, but in his 20's was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 and thereafter the weight has piled on. This has not been helped by his carbohydrate-laden meals, and sedentary lifestyle.  My whole extended family are sedentary- no exercise AT ALL. Me, my sister, my mum and dad live in England whilst the rest of our family live in malta so i will stick to just discussing us. 
My family  set their meals around eating carbohydrates. The portions are excessive, and it is normal for my dad (who does the cooking) to make huge amounts so that they (i don't eat his food- never have) can go back for more servings. My dad loves cooking- particularly baking and bakes loafs of bread every day including home-made pizzas. 
Now i have always been different. From a young age i took a real interest in health, and wanted to be slim and lean. I loved exercise and i liked looking a certain way. I have always been the anomaly of the house- even in my personality i can often be introverted and after a day out, i do love to have some "me time", so often at home you'll find me in my room with my macbook. Now in terms of eating habits, i have always cooked or prepared my own meals. My family are so amazingly supportive of everything that i do that they never made any comment or anything. In fact my mum would ask me to make a list of "my foods" and she would do the food shopping for "my foods". It was always obvious in the kitchen fridge or cupboard which foods were mine and which was the rest of the family's.

My main point is that despite my kitchen smelling of a bakery 24/7, or the treats that i see around the house i have never been tempted. In fact, it actually fuels my desire because i LIKE and ENJOY being different. I know that my will power is exceptionally strong- always has been. I always did what i wanted- more in a focused way rather than a spoilt-brat/princess way. During ALevels my friends would still go out to clubs etc, but for me and my goals i knew i needed 3As in my Alevels and that meant making sacrifices. I used to have comments made my friends about this but it didn't phase me. I am very all or nothing, and with my 'all' mentality comes tunnel vision 
I do believe if you want something enough, and are in-tune with what exactly is required of you and what you must sacrifice, then temptation won’t phase you. Psychology plays a huge part- i always said "i want to achieve *this* so i must do *that*" as opposed to "i can't do *this* because i have to do *that*". If you are looking for an excuse to break away from a goal- i.e. it is one you don't really care about or that was inflicted on you by your parents, friends, peer pressure etc, then the willpower you can force will only take you so far. 
When people asked me about why i was so healthy and never used to indulge, I found the easiest way to answer that was to tell people i was “brought up around health”. The truth is i wasn’t- my family sometimes resembles "fat families"- as much as i do love them, they have zero care in the world for nutrition or exercise. No one would understand why i made the decisions i did, chose to put workouts as a priority, and chose to ate the way i did, so It was a lot easier to tell that lie, because then suddenly people understood. I think the strength comes from within, because my goals are different to my family's- my vision is to do with turning my body into a personification of my mental strength. I overcame a lot of demons in my past, and each made me stronger. 
I hope this motivates at least one person to stick to their goals and find the strength within. Everyone has their struggles, and not everything comes easily- i would love to have a family that ate the way i did and would even go to the gym with me- but that is life, and you have to face whatever challenges or rocky paths are set forth. They will only build your character and strength, so embrace it and congratulate yourself on your achievements wherever you are in your journey/path towards your goal. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

Exercise: Going Through The Motions

Today i woke up and reflected on the past few weeks of my fitness journey. Ever since stepping into the gym and deciding No More "i wish i could look like this... i wish i didn't have this... i wish i could do this.." i have learnt so many things about my body and mind. It really is a journey. For the past few days i have been daydreaming about the day i have firm glutes. It is my weak spot, so i am going to turn it into my STRONG spot. I started to think "WHY didn't i start doing squats the moment i learnt how to walk as a baby", but in actual fact i HAVE tried to work on my bum in the past. I mean, okay maybe not as hard/many times as i should have but it's not like i NEGLECTED it. Now with my perspective in the incredible benefits of lifting weights i realise my approach to how to use exercise FOR my body was a bit off the mark. Let me explain.
NB: I am going to group Leg/Glute exercises as just 'Legs'
-I was very hesitant about working out my legs because all my life i've had muscular legs. I used to walk for 8 mins up a hill from the bus stop after school to my house, and within 5seconds of this routine my calves were so muscular. My friends all had skinny legs. I used to be so envious, so i used to WANT the muscle to waste in my legs. I avoided going too heavy with weights and using a very challenging gradient/resistance on machines for this reason.
-In August i started to not give a * about other peoples legs, and just focus on mine. Once a week i started incorporating exercises that weren't going to really bulk up my legs, but would work my glutes. I started doing squats and lunges on a bosu ball without heavy weights (8kg if anything), glute bridges, leg bands, squats without heavy weights. And started incorporating the stair/stepper into my workout.
-Overtime, i started to want to use heavier weights, and so began using the Leg Press, Lunges with a 10kg --> 15kg bar, [deadlifts- back and hamstrings but also glutes], Split leg squat. etc. My gym at the time didn't have a squat rack so i couldn't really squat heavy.
- Truth is, i never TRULY felt my glutes working. I did these exercises with the mentality of just going through the motion. Now i did sweat, i did find certain reps and certain sets challenging, and occasionally had DOMS the next day, but i just assumed that by doing these exercises, i was inevitably working out my glutes. 
-This isn't the case. Anyone can pick a weight that's really heavy. Anyone can walk up high gradients on the treadmill, use the stair machine.
I realised that i used to get the ache in my Quads. My Quads had built up over time because even when i was doing exercises to target my glutes, my quads fully took over. Now even now when i work with my trainer i feel it in my quads aswell, but i ALSO feel it in my glutes. I have never really felt it in my glutes before. My quads are strong, which means any stress on my legs, the quads are quick to take over. Even with squats and leg presses, my quads would take over.
-If you want to work a muscle, you need to FEEL the muscle working. You have to put it under stress. This means using the correct form and using a weight that feels challenging. I think when people say "lift heavy" it actually is confusing. Like people used to say this to me, and i used to think WHAT IS HEAVY. what do they MEAN. To make it simple, just lift a weight that feels like its a challenge. That makes you breath out and sigh and even make funny faces after a few reps.
-If you want to grow that muscle, you need to repair the damage you've done to it by putting it under the stress of the exercise. This means eating enough protein. The recommendation to build muscle is 1.5g protein per kg of body weight per day. You are NOT going to get big and bulky. TRUST ME. Muscle takes TIME to grow. And if you are getting bigger, then it's most likely fat gain, so reassess your net calorie input (i.e. are you eating more than you are burning off).
-I almost... ALMOST.. put the blame on genetics. i thought WHY WHY can some people work out less hard than me, or even actually have the same approach and just go through the motions, yet still reap the benefits. But genetics or NOT, it's not an excuse. Your attitude and consistency will ALWAYS triumph genetics. 
-If you are like me and your quads take over your glutes, 'Pre-fatiguing- the quads before you start your glutes-focused exercise help. This means doing heavy and high rep training of an exercise that will just work the quads, till the point where they feel weak. This will help prevent them from 'taking over' when you move onto exercises for your glutes.
-FEEL THE MUSCLE. This may mean doing a more focused exercise routing with fewer exercises. This may even mean dropping the weight to a lighter one so your form is perfect. This may mean squeezing at the top of an exercise, or keeping the muscle contracted by doing pulses/half reps. This may mean using a machine and instead of strictly obeying the picture drawing/instructions it has on how to use it, and tailoring it to how it works for YOU.
I hope this helps, because i really wish someone told me this sooner. Just saying "lift heavy" means nothing. Stay focused, and keep your eyes on your goal. Don't give up, you've got this 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Olympia 2013: Bikini

Olympia 2013: Bikini: My Favs
Ok. Let me first start by saying: Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow. INSPIRATION AT ITS FINEST. If you are considering/currently training/are a bikini competitor- or for any other category of bodybuilding- JUST WOW you need to look at the pictures! Or help me build a time machine so that we can go back in time and make sure we're in Las Vegas and have tickets for it. I now can't wait for the Arnold competition! Okay, focus.
Now i am truly obsessed with Amanda Latona. Ok the word obsessed makes me sound crazy, she is just so inspirational. From watching interviews and her exercise videos, her personality is amazing. But then her body is just phenomenal. And YOU KNOW it took a thousand buckets of sweat and tears to achieve that. She is my inspiration particularly for the Glutes area! This is how she looked for Olympia 2013, and she came 6th.

Nathalia Melo was Ms Olympia Bikini 2012. She is Beautiful, and her stage presence is phenomenal. I watched a youtube video of Olympia 2013 bikini, and your eyes are drawn to her. She came 4th in this years Olympia. Amazing body and Amazing face- she looks leaner than she did last year, but overall Nathalia does have a leaner look- particularly her mid section. Oh and her glutes are also inspiring!!!!

The winner of Ms Olympia Bikini 2013 was Ashley Kaltwasser. Having looked through the pictures of the Olympia Bikini, i have to say she definitely deserved it. I was SHOCKED Amanda Latona didn't win, but that's because in my eyes she's perfect and embodies "ms bikini". HOWEVER, i recall saying - OUT LOUD- "damn", when i saw Ashley's pictures. Her body is just perfect. I mean lean and muscular, but soft and feminine. Her boobs don't look disproportionate. Her skin and tan is perfect and even. Her makeup and hair is just right. I am not surprised she won. Her story is also motivating, because she placed 10th in Arnold Classic 2013 and then went on to win OLYMPIA. This shows the importance of not giving up.
The last girl i'll talk about is Michelle Brannan. Now I have been following her on Twitter and Instagram for some time. She looks like a porcelain barbie-doll (but the natural kind, not the fake looking), and her body is always tight. She seems incredibly focused and her determination lead her to be the first Olympia Bikini girl to represent UK. That is some achievement. 

Clean Bulk: Week 2

Clean Bulk
I met with my trainer on Wednesday 18th September, and since then have begun a clean bulk. Now the reason i use the word 'clean' in reference to my bulk is that it is not me eating all the food i desire all in the name of muscle. It is a controlled diet with the aim of being in a caloric-surplus, providing my body with optimum conditions to grow muscle. Particularly my glutes ;) . This means
-Having a diet plan and sticking to it every day
-Weighing my food.
-Sources of food: Carbs: Oatmeal, Brown Rice. Protein: Chicken breast, Tuna, Salmon, Egg. Fat: Avacado (Salmon included in the meal as it is a fatty fish).
-Week to week review so to STEADILY increase my calories in a CONTROLLED way.
The goal is to increase as much muscle as possible, and minimising the amount of fat gained. Now some fat gain is inevitable, which is why i am not lifting up my top frequently to check my abs. The muscle is there- I CAN FEEL IT- it is strong and tight, but the 'ripped abs look' wont be apparent until i start cutting/my body fat % is low. I weigh myself every week- today was my 'weigh day' with my brand new scales (Amazon UK) and i am 49.9kg. This is good, because the idea isn't to put on weight drastically over the next few weeks- that would just mean i was putting on mainly fat. Any weight gain above 2lbs is most likely due to fat NOT muscle. You will REALISTICALLY only put on about 1-2lbs dry muscle in a month.
After years of eating erratically, i am PRETTY SURE i have caused some issues with my metabolism. I mean, it isn't too bad because i haven't gone up to like 60kg in a day, but what i mean is that the concept of increasing things slowly is really important. Some days i wouldn't eat till 4pm, and then go through a binge-starve cycle, other days it was just binge, other days it wasn't. If some of you had gone through this, just rest assure that the damage isn't permanent- and if you're young your body will adapt more quickly- but it will take time to get your metabolism to its optimal fat-burning state. Now the idea behind using your metabolism to your advantage is to be able to eat as much as possible (particularly carbs) without gaining weight. As your body is adaptive, after a few weeks at a certain number of calories-per-day diet, your body will get used to it. This is why if trying to lose weight, you reach a plateau and have to drop a few more calories, and if you are trying to gain muscle you have to increase a bit more. Now if you can maintain your body on a 2000 kcal diet instead of a 1200kcal diet, you have more leverage to work with. This is the importance of not rushing a process- sometime you have to step back in order to leap forwards.
Photo from this morning:

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Protein Discount Card

Discount? I like the word Discount. It isn't too dissimilar to the word free AND WE ALL LOVE THE WORD FREE.
So £239423904832423 of my money these days seems to be spent on either Food, Supplements, Gym Clothes and.. nope just those 3. They're totally worth that investment, but sometimes a little help in the financial support of them is always appreciated ;). So i came across "Protein Discount Card" on Twitter, and at first i had my doubts because.. well.. WHO is that nice to offer a discount on protein!? But i went on their website and there really is NOTHING to lose. It is completely free to set up an account and completely free to get a discount card sent to your door- which arrived around 4 days after i applied for one. 
Me being skeptical I always try to look for a possible reason behind such nice-ness, and i suppose that when you get given a discount you're more likely to shop. January sales anybody? I mean, you don't even WANT or NEED that top, but £10 off? OKAY. So the same goes- you may not NEED to top up your supply of whey (who am i kidding.. you ALWAYS need to top up your supply of whey!).. but you get the jist. And in order to buy the products (only a select few have the discount, whereas if you pay for a VIP card then you get more for a discount)- good business minds ;). And thirdly, my other suspicion was that not only is it advertisement for the brands- you have to go onto the website of the brand and then checkout, but whilst on the website you may see another product you "NEED". OVERALL, if you have some self control and would like some assistance in saving money on your fitness journey, then definitely sign up to this!
Money needed to be saved after my shop in Nike Town yesterday XD

My card 

Brands Include: #ProteinWorks #MuscleFood #MyProtein #USN #MonsterSupplements #GoldStarSupplements #Pro10 #Kinetica #BikiniBody #UrbanCelebrityClothing #SmartShake #MensFitness

Monday, 23 September 2013

Promotion Work

On Sunday 22nd September I was lucky enough to meet and work with the brains behind Protein World and 3 really lovely girls, two of who were Miss Hertfordshire 2013, and a semi-finalist in So You Think You Can Dance. We helped the guys out at Protein World [Pure Performance]- a new supplement company, which launches on 24th September, at a Rugby tournament in Richmond. Everyone was really friendly- it was such a fun day and a great experience.
About Protein World:
The guys who tried the Whey and Recovery Whey- Chocolate and Vanilla flavour- seemed to really like the sweet taste, smoothness and consistency.
The packaging is really simple, which i really like.
No Genetically Modified Organism used in their products
No Aspartame
Focused on the enhancing your Strength and Power, without compromising on the Quality.
The prices are excellent and range around the £20 figure.
@Proteinworld on Instagram and Twitter
Over the past few months i have really been doing my research on supplements, and the importance of optimising your performance. On sunday, one of the main things that i really took home from the day was that a lot of people don't really know why they are taking a supplement, or even what it is. I also really enjoyed being outgoing, and confidently talking to the rugby players about the brand and just really try and represent the brand as much as possible.
After the day, it motivated me to go straight to the gym and LIFT LIFT LIFT- I loved being able to represent a brand, and i want to make sure that i am physically in the best shape possible to do so.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

A New Perspective

Saturday 21st September

Its breakfast time over here and I LOVE MY BREAKFAST. There was a time (around 2 years ago) when i never ate breakfast- i would try to fast until about 3 pm- and then BOY WAS I HUNGRY/ATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IN MY SIGHT.

Breakfast is important because it is "breaking the fast". You haven't eaten since dinner, and for some people thats around 5-6pm. You have to not only fuel your body (think of it like a car), but you have to give those poor muscles that take a good pounding at the gym some lovin'. And just like food is the way to a man's heart (stereotyped but true XD), but as is your muscles'.

For me breakfast is simple and quick (it has to be or i'd start eating the kitchen appliances), and its 40g of Rolled Oats (that bag full of oats in the supermarket that you usually walk past to pick up the ready-made-oat pot [at least i did] ) with Skim milk- and a handful of berries that didn't make the cut into my pic. The yellow..stuff.. is 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites. It may look slightly gross in this pic, but i assure you in the 0.4seconds it took me to inhale all this food IT WAS YUMMY.
Oats: Low Glycaemic Index and therefore provide slow release energy.
Eggs: Your muscles haven't been fed since dinner, YOU GIVE YOUR DAMN MUSCLES SOME PROTEIN.
Berries: antioxidants and fibre.

Last week i met with a trainer to discuss competing in the Bikini Level Competition (undecided which federation), and now all systems are go :). I have been thinking about this for a while- i like goals and challenging myself; i love to work towards something because it gives this more of a purpose. I can't wait to experience the highs and the lows- and you will experience them WITH ME thanks to this blog. SORRY NOT SORRY.

Here is a picture i took this morning.
 I am only seeing my trainer once a week to destroy my glutes. I wasn't blessed with a bum and i have high goals in my mind SEE PICTURE
Amanda Latona: IFBB Pro
If she can do it, I can do it. If she can have it, I can have it. ITS SIMPLE. You just have to work hard to get it: The step to take from "i want" to "i have" is "to do". 
The other days i am training myself. I've done my research, and i know what i am doing so i trust myself to get my arms, chest and back how i want them to be. The glutes just need some extra help! I also have slightly adjusted my diet to make sure i have enough protein during the times when i need it the most. 
If you would like me to go through more detail, exercise regimes, routines or form then Instragram me @allysaetta to let me know and that will be my next blog.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Learning and Review: Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular Exercise: Cardio: Aerobic exercise which intends to improve the oxygen system.  The heart rate is maintained at at least 50% of its maximum level.

Some science facts:

Ways of burning glucose/sugar: 1. Aerobic (with oxygen) or 2. Anaerobic (without oxygen. leads to lactate) 

ATP: energy currency of muscle cells. 
It is produced in the mitochondria in cells ("the energy factory" of a cell). Mitochondria produce energy (ATP). Mitochondria is able to increase in size and number. Increased size and number leads to an increased availability of energy. Break down carbohydrate and fat for fuel.

Calorie = unit of energy.

Sources at rest: Fats 80–90%; carbohydrates 5–18% and protein 2–5%

Sources during exercise: muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen), blood sugar, blood fatty acids, and intramuscular triacylglycerols (fat that is stored in muscle and fat tissues).

Factors: intensity and duration of exercise, the initial muscle glycogen levels, and supplementation with carbohydrates during exercise.

Light-Moderate use mainly glycogen, glucose and fat. 
Endurance sport relies on mainly Glycogen. 

Muscle growth (hypertrophy) occurs by satellite cells, providing there is sufficient amino acids available i.e. a positive nitrogen status by ingesting more protein than is lost. (amino acids --> protein synthesis: MUSCLE IS A PROTEIN). 

Steady State Cardio vs HIIT

Steady state/LISS:
-burn calories and increase fitness/endurance. 
-low- moderate: able to hold a conversation
-e.g. walking on treadmill, riding bike
-heart rate at >65% of its maximum ability. 
-Aerobic system. 
- The muscle fibres used are Slow Twitch: Contract slowly, but keep going for a long time. 
Slow twitch fibres are red; they rely on a rich supply of oxygenated blood as they use oxygen to produce energy for muscle contraction. (AEROBIC)
Cardiac output = Heart Rate Stroke Volume
i.e. The volume of blood pumped from the heart in one minute is the sum of the number of beats of the heart per minute and the volume of blood pumped by the heart in each contraction. This enables the oxygen demands of the exercising muscles to be met.
Aerobic fitness is largely determined by Stroke Volume (which in itself is largely determined by Pre-load- i.e. how much blood is inside the ventricle). 


-spike your heart rate (>85%)
-aim of burning fat and increasing your fitness. 
-Short sprint intervals are coupled with low-moderate intensity. (bursts of speed at your full maximum)
-Examples include alternating a sprint (for, say 15 seconds), with a slower paced walk/jog (for, say 60 seconds), doing burpees, weight lifting. 
-Anaerobic system: generates Lactate.  
- The muscle fibres used are Fast Twitch: 
Contract quickly, but rapidly get tired
Fast twitch fibres don't use oxygen to make energy, so they don't need such a rich blood supply (typically lighter in colour) (ANAEROBIC)

Calories burnt
  • 15minutes of steady state cardio reads more kcal burnt than if you had done 15minutes of HIIT (alternating 1m sprint with 1m walk, for example). 
  • LISS: burn calories at precise moment
  • However, HIIT training is known for its 'afterburn' i.e calories are burned not only at the moment that you are exercising, but also for hours after: 24 hours. This is due to an elevated EPOC, which is the oxygen consumption - and thus caloric expenditure- after an exercise session. This has been depicted in LaForgia, Withers& Gore study whereby EPOC has a greater increase in HIIT than in steady state cardio.
Problem with endurance training:
-Body adapts to physiological stresses: Typically, 30-60minutes 3-7x week of endurance training leads to long term adaptions such as increased thickness of heart muscle, to become more effective and efficient as a pump. 
Improved cardiovascular function leads to an increased VO2 Max. 

VO2 MAX: ability to consume, distribute and use oxygen as a means to provided energy. It is a predictor of exercise performance. Increased VO2 max leads to improved exercise performance.

Having to challenge the body after it adapts (as aerobic fitness increases)
  • increasing the duration of the exercise: PROBLEM: Now if you are already doing a 45 minute run, and you have to increase it to 60minutes --> boring or time consuming. 

A study by Wilson et al  showed a temporary boost in weight loss with steady state cardio, that was short-lived once the metabolism adjusted. The study also showed there was more muscle loss in steady state cardio than in HIIT. 
Another 8week study by Daussin et al showed HIIT produced physiological gains, such as an increase in VO2 Max (15% in HIIT, 9% in steady state cardio), and an overall increase in performance and health. This is supported by Helgerud et al. 

How to changing your metabolism
  1. increase muscle muss
  2. Increase muscle’s oxidative capacity (mitochondria: number and activity: produce ATP and burn fats)

Gibala et al: 
HIIT: increase in the number and size of mitochondria 
Burgomaster et al, MacDougall et al:
increase in oxidative enzymes within the mitochondria

In terms of Fat burning
Perry et al:
-increase in fat burning with HIIT in 6 weeks 
Talanian et al:
-also presented this finding but in a 2 week study. 

Horowitz & Klein:
-ncrease in fat burning with steady state cardiovascular exercise also. 

Remember: If you see a form of exercise as a chore, something you really hate the idea of doing, guess what... YOU WONT BE DOING IT FOR LONG.. you will resent it, and resent your workouts, and mentally that will hinder your progress. Do what you love and love what you do. Do what gets you pumped and rearing to go, and if that is a 30-45minute run then DO THAT and ENJOY IT and F anyone who judges. Whatever works for you will WORK and lead to results. LIFESTYLE CHANGE- not short term fixes.

Cardio: more fat burnt as fuel but this is short term. I.e. short term studies show that steady state cardio is best for fat burning.
HIIT: Due to the changes in the Mitochondria, HIIT is ultimately the best. i.e. Long term studies show HIIT has the best change in overall body fat composition.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Learning: Training Structure and Goals

Training Structure: Reps and Sets

I may just be slightly slow, or gym-mentally challenged, but it took me a WHILE to get these concepts into my head. So here is some information that is simplified that i would have found helpful without having to trail through the 1239213 articles available on the internet.

A Rep: If it is a bicep curl, it is how many times you are repeatedly curling that weight. If you have curled 10 times, then you have done 10 reps.
            If it is a squat, it is how many times you are squatting repeatedly.

A Set: If you have done 10reps, and you take a break (i.e. 30secs-1min), and then repeat the exercise. If you do, for example, 10reps --> pause --> 10 reps --> pause --> 10 reps, you have done 3 sets.

Training Goals: Strength, Mass and Endurance

A pause between the sets is known as "rest". But why do we pause/rest and how long should this be for? It depends on your Goal.

If you want to get stronger, you need to rest in order to allow your body to get enough energy back.
Those working to build strength typically use heavy weights. Because it is heavy weight, you can't do a large number of reps, so typically 1 to 6 reps is performed. Because a lot of energy is required, without the use of oxygen (anaerobic), your body relies on Phosphagen as a reserve.
ATP-Pc stands for Adenosine Triphosphate Phosphocreatine.
ATP is the energy source of the muscle cell.
ATP-Pc ---> ADP
Phosphagen provides energy for 15 seconds.
It takes 3 minutes to fully replenish Phosphagen stores
This helps you get enough energy to SMASH your next set ;)
This is typically used by PowerLifters.

If you're after increasing the size of the muscle the routine is somewhat different. Increasing muscle size is also termed "Hypertrophy" for us science geeks.
The science behind this is more to do with muscle-growing ("Anabolic", for us geeks) hormones, lactate and blood flow. An increase of these desirable things (particularly desirable to bodybuilders) are associated with shorter rest periods of 1-2 minutes. This is also why you get that achey, fatigued feeling after: damn Lactic acid! Don't think that you can't have one goal without the benefit of another- you will still increase in strength, but it is more of a short term gain, accompanied with significant hypertrophy.

If you're after Endurance, i.e. building stamina, being able to do more without feeling the fatigue as quickly, the rest period is at its shortest. 45seconds-2minutes. Light-moderate weight is typically used it with high reps (15-20). This is because you are drawing energy with the use of Oxygen (Aerobic). By providing oxygen, you are minimising the production of Lactate (the cause of the achey, sore feeling), therefore your muscles are less likely to fatigue. The science behind this is to do with your hormones and your vascular (blood) system.

Hope this helps!

Initiating a Change

When it comes to living a fitness-lifestyle, one quote that really does prove to be true is "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail". I found this relevant to my nutrition and diet, as well as my gym workouts. There was a time i used to go in to the gym and leave it up to how i felt once i was inside, and whether it was a "treadmill" day, or a "crosstrainer" day, or a "do weights/abs at the end" day etc. I knew this wasn't going to really get me the goals i wanted, but i didn't really know how to change my mindset. Once you get into a routine of thinking or acting a certain way, it becomes difficult to change it. Then i realised:
Well, ain't that the truth. So i was going to have to change something. And the way i initiated that change was to get involved in some gym classes. I used to think gym classes were nonsense. How can a class really help you when its not individualised, tailored to your own personal fitness, goals, age, weight etc. And i did get some stick from it, about it being the lazy option, too generalised ETC. But it helped. It challenged me because the trainer taking the class would push me, and i was able to challenge my comfort zone. Now i used to go extremely "hard" at the gym before, make no assumption that i was a weakling, slowly jogging for 2 minutes then stopping. NO. I was always dripping with sweat by the end of my workout, i would make sure i pushed myself to the point of fatigue, often did HIIT sprints, and was commended by guys at how "hard i go", unlike a lot of the girls at my gym who looked beautiful at the beginning and beautiful by the end. Nope, i was a sweaty pig. But going to the classes made me alter my mindset and that was the beginning of something great. I started seeing exercise as a way of sculpting my body as opposed to "burning off the calories i had eaten". I started to change the way i reached fatigue, say by going to spinning and sprinting right at the beginning of my exercise for longer or with more resistance than if i had been doing it myself. I stopped listening to my own voice and started pushing my body. 
I also started to get introduced to implementing weights into my workout, and centre-ing a workout around weights. I knew that women were being encouraged to get off the treadmill and "lift heavy", but that was so difficult for me to actually do when my gym was full of young, ripped 20 year olds leaving no space for anyone on the weights section. It was easier to "push myself hard'" on the treadmill, then venture over and "go lift". Not only that, but i didn't know what the hell i would be doing. What weight would i use? What if i used bad form? A rep? A set? It was all really confusing and overwhelming. But the classes helped me break that mentality and start to learn the concept behind weights, and the names for certain exercises, including the form, what was an okay weight for me etc. I built the courage. I knew, however, that in order to get the real results i was after that i couldn't just depend on classes. I had to take what i had learnt from doing the classes and implement it into the gym. I started becoming "used to" the classes, and felt it was actually going to hold me back. Body Pump, in particular, is one that comes to mind: it helped me in so many ways to get acquainted with weights, but the very high rep range meant that i wasn't using heavy or even slightly-heavy weights because we were doing 3293481239 reps of each exercise. NOW there is a lot of debate regarded high rep:lower weight vs low rep:heavy weight vs very low rep:extremely heavy weight, but body pump uses A LOT more reps. An entire song worth of reps with sometimes no break. It also means that you cheat on your form, because by the 2394234th rep, your muscle does fatigue and because you have to keep going (in synchrony with the rest of the class), you end up losing the true form of the exercise that is imperative to working the muscle. NOW I AM NOT SLAYING BODY PUMP. it was FANTASTIC. and without it i would NOT have ever got the stamina, knowledge or courage to step into the weight section of the gym. I would still be on that treadmill, sweating my calories away but not reaching my goals. 
This is why i repeatedly use the term "Journey", when discussing my experience with fitness and nutrition. You cannot begin as an expert. It takes a lot of trial and a hell of a lot of errors. And i sure am still learning, making trials and errors (on a weekly basis). You will wish you had known what you know now months before, but it takes failure to reach success. You will wish you had started sooner than you had. One thing is for sure, you can't just read about it and learn, you have to go out there and experience this for yourself. Classes worked for me, but they may not necessarily for you AND THAT'S OKAY. You just have to find what does. And you will.

This is a photo i took this morning of my progress:
September 13th

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Learning: Supplements Explained


If you're into your fitness, or even if you're just starting out, you've probably heard the term "Supplements" a fair few times. If not, then you will after reading this. This post is dedicated to really explaining what the most common supplements are used for, because it's something a lot of people take without really knowing why. It is an unbiased review with- what i found to be- the most relevant scientific information, without having to sit and "read" it all (basically skim read and not take anything in, then get bored and press the cross on your browser). 

This picture highlights the fact that a lot of people are hesitant about introducing supplements into their diet because of the stigma around using steroids. Also, supplements are expensive, their dosage, timings of intake, and effect is still not fully known. Steroids are not part of the group of "supplements" gym-goers use as..they..are..illegal... and the ones used by some/many in the fitness/bodybuilding industry are different to the medicinal ones prescribed by doctors to treat things like arthritis (corticosteroids). The ones i will briefly mention are termed 'Anabolic Steroids'. The simple definition of Anabolic is "building up", which is the opposite of Catabolic "breaking down". Anabolic steroids are related to male sex hormones that promote growth of muscle, and along with it the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic). Major side effects include organ damage (liver, kidney, heart). In males, they are at risk of developing breasts and shrinking of their testicles; women are at risk of facial hair growth, changes to their menstrual cycle, and a deeper voice, whilst teenagers can serious affect their growth. After looking at many pictures of bodybuilders there are some that are OBVIOUSLY taking them, and you can spot them by what looks extremely unnatrual- i.e. the human body would not be able to form this much muscle had it not have been for a little extra somethin'somethin'. And women do not have the same hormones as men do, so naturally aren't able to build that much muscle that you see in its extreme. That being said, a lot of fitness-competing federations have banned the use of steroids, and do drug checks on athletes to ensure no-one's being naughty.

Okay, enough about steroids. Now onto the commonly used/heard LEGAL supplements:

Note: "supplement"= "to enhance"; it should be used supplementary to a diet, and not to replace.

Essential= Made by the body. Non Essential= Not made by the body so requires sources for intake e.g. food 

What is it: Essential Amino Acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine.
Why is it taken: Taken with the aim of assisting/speeding up muscle recover and thus preventing the reduction of muscle size and strength.
How much is recommended: There is incomplete research about how much and how often is most beneficial. Some tablets have 200mg in each, others have 5g in each. Some say in order for it to truly be efficient you need 20g in a day.
Science behind it: When you put your muscles under tension, i.e. resistance training, that exceeds its pre-existing capacity, causes trauma to the fibres, and then thereafter they repair (by the handy work of Satellite Cells), increasing in thickness and cell-number.

Beta Alanine:
What is it: Non Essential Amino Acids. i.e. not made by the body so obtained by dietary sources including protein rich foods (e.g. chicken, fish)- we ingest 'dipeptides' which contain beta alanine.  Another source is from our liver.
Science behind it: Increased beta Alanine --> Increases Carnosine --> pH buffering --> optimal conditions for maintaing maximum muscle strength and endurance.

What is it: An Amino Acid.
Why is it taken: Taken to prevent muscle breakdown and support muscle growth.

Creatine Monohydrate:
What is it: Made from 3 Amino Acids: Glycine, Methionine, Arginine.
Why is it taken: Taken with the aim to maximise muscle strength and size. 
Science behind it: ATP is the source of energy. Adenosine Tri-Phosphate. Tri means Three. ATP is broken down into ADP. Adenosine Di Phosphate. Di means Two. So there is a loss of a Phosphate. This phosphate is what is providing the energy to your cells. When you exercise, you are using up energy. A lot of energy. In muscle the natural occurring creatine is Creatine Phosphate. Taking CM has been proven to increase CP in muscle. CP (Creatine Phosphate) donates a Phosphate to restore the amount of energy (ATP) available. More ATP- More energy. More energy- More able to perform.
In terms of muscle mass, Creatine increases fluid within muscle cells, and this hydration promotes anabolism (building), as well as increasing the activity of cells which grow the muscle (Satellite cells)

What is it: Fast absorbing form of protein (20minutes into your veins, 20-40 minutes for amino acid levels to peak in the blood).
Why is it taken: Taken to stimulate protein synthesis.

What is it: Slow absorbing form of protein. Peak of amino acids in blood reached 3-4 hours from taking it.
Why is it taken: Taken to reduce protein breakdown.

What is it: Fatty Acids.
Why is it taken: Taken with the aim of reducing fat mass by stimulating (PPAR) system to burn fat.
How much is recommended: It is advised to be taken with meals, and its recommended dosage varies considerably (3,200-6,400mg daily). Again, research is still incomplete. 

Omega 3 aka 'Fish oil': 
What is it: Essential Fatty Acid
Why is it taken: To promote a healthy immune response and joint mobility.
How much is recommended: up to 3g per day. 

Green Tea (Extract):
What is it: Tea made from leaves.
Why is it taken: Antioxidant effect is theorised to reduce muscle/joint/tendon inflammation from the free radicals released during exercise. Fat burner effect by increasing metabolism and fat oxidation.

I will do another post on pre-supplements and fat burners.

Myprotein Is a good online source of these. As is Amazon.
Holland & Barrett and many other health stores are VERY expensive. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Review: Permanent Makeup

Permanent Makeup

Being naturally fair, with very light eyebrows, I spent a lot of my time relying on eyebrow-tinting and drawing in my eyebrows as part of my makeup-daily routine (Dior Eyebrow Pencil was, in my opinion, the best), and i had been thinking about permanent eye-brow tattoo for sometime. These sort of images (see below) terrified the life out of me/ eyebrows off of me, and i held out for a long time. I did my research, i looked for a reputable place and i considered it for some time. Tracie Giles and her incredible work was featured on The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE), and it really did look amazing- you couldn't tell that the eyebrows were tattood on, as they looked so natural- nothing like the horror pictures you see, and nothing like you imagine the word 'tattoo' to represent.

So, I went ahead and booked a consultation, and went to knightsbridge (where the clinic is) to discuss the shape and look i was after, and get her advice. I told her that i loved the shape, thickness and dark colour of Megan Fox's eyebrows, and she drew the shape with pencil. I was sold.

I went ahead and booked in to get it done, and it is honestly one of the best investments i have ever done. I don't need to use my eyebrow pencil/spend time drawing a perfect shape and never being really content with how they look. Eyebrows, strangely, do a lot for the face, and i realised that waking up in the morning, going to the gym, having a shower etc, you just always look acceptable because they make your eyes stand out. 
First layer of tattoo-ink
The first layer of tattoo-ink is applied following application of numbing cream. The sensation, varies from a slight scratching (bearable) to nothing when the numbing kicks in. The stencilling takes about 1hour and you check it before the tattoo is used, so can make any amendments so that it is perfect. The tattoo-ing then takes about 30-40 minutes. It is actually somewhat relaxing. You then need to book in after a few weeks to have the 2nd layer applied, and the real results are then because there will be some slight fading in between the 2 appointments. Nonetheless, the fading is minimal and better than what your eyebrows look without it! Noone notices my eyebrows are tattood; the tattoo is so perfectly realistic it looks like hairs. I get my eyebrows threaded/tweeze the hairs that grow around the tattoo stencil, and of course leave the hairs that grow on top of the stencil. 
I laugh, but i also agree.
Eyebrows and Lips- Megan Fox is blessed
 Well, me-being-me I then became interested in tattoo on the lips! Permanent lip colour that makes your lips look bigger- errr COUNT ME IN!! So i saved up, and made the investment. The same system goes- you need 2 layers of tattoo. This does hurt a little more because your lips are more sensitive and i would say the scratching of the tattoo is - at times- unbearable but i have learnt to a) ask for more numbing cream, and b) take paracetamol 30 minutes before my appointment!! Also, do not do this on the week of a special occassion. My lips were swollen for 2 days, and the pigment does peel for around 5 days, and your lips are so dry it is not attractive.

After when at home- Swollen!!

 FYI: You can still use lipstick- the pigment of the lipstick is thicker than that of the tattoo.

Personal opinion: Both are fantastic investments - one of my best decisions, and i will continue to get these done.

Top-ups are required between 9-12months. I am one of those stupid people that use Sunbeds, and this does lighten the tattoo so I need it done every 10months, but some people, particularly older people who don't break down the pigment as quickly, will not need it as frequently!

 Celebrities that have used Tracie Gile's services:
- Katie Price aka Jordan
- Jessica Jane Clement
- Chantell Houghton 
- TOWIE: Lucy Meck, Jessica Wright, Lauren Goodger
- Geordie Shore: Sophie, Charlotte

Take a look at the website to see close up of the pictures- you can see how realistic the eyebrows look even from a zoomed-in angle!

Review: Restaurant: GymsKitchen


Place: Leyton, East London. New one opening in Essex.

If you're hungry.. or on one of those juice cleanses i have recently blogged about.. look away now, LOOK AWAY NOW!!

Scrambled egg, Asparagus, Mixed Salad, Bean Salad, Sweet Potato, Chicken breast

Tofu, Broccoli, Asparagus, Bean salad, Mixed salad, Scrambled egg
The colours, the presentation, the HEALTH that is radiating off the plate, through the computer screen, into my eyes, my mouth and my stomach. Ok.. too much i know, but it's almost time for Meal 3 so i apologise for my taste buds doing all the talking in this one.

This place is really amazing: the people who work there and run this business are so lovely and friendly, the food is just incredible and there is a lot of satisfaction that comes with knowing you've eaten out in a restaurant (and the prices are excellent), and it was healthy! Plus if you take time to peel your eyes off your plate, and look around, a lot of people there are good looking with amazing bodies. That being said, don't be intimidated because there is a real big range in the customers! Young and old, all sizes, but all really friendly.

This is my favourite restaurant because, like i said, i love the fact that it is so healthy. They even have the calories and macronutrient (carb,protein,fat) breakdown on the menu!

Ok i saved the best picture till last....
Protein Pancake with Apple&Blueberries, Chocolate flavoured Protein ice-cream, Peanut butter

yoooooooou're welcome ;)

Twitter: @Gymskitchen
Instagram: @Gymskitchen106QE

Learning Points: Nutrition


This is to provide things I have learnt through experience and an avid interest in fitness and nutrition, aided by the fact i don't do anything half-heartedly and love researching the hell out of science-proven theories. 

- One of the most important facts that i was told time and time again, and really only grasped its importance until i followed through is that your nutrition is paramount to your results, both interms of the energy you have for your workout and the nutrients to grow muscle and lose fat (Fuel and Refuel). If you are under-eating, or your nutrition intake is inadequate then your results will either be short term or negligible, or - if you were as unlucky as me- result in weight gain and blaming it on "but exercise increases my appetite".

Lets take it back to school-days science:
Carbohydrates --> Glucose. 
Protein --> Amino Acids. 
Fats --> Fatty Acids. 

Glucose is required for energy and it's release into the blood following a meal leads to a surge of Insulin; Glucose will either be used as energy or, particularly in its excess, be stored as Glycogen. Amino Acids are the building blocks of Protein and Protein is the building block of Muscle. 
The 2 forms of Fatty Acids are Unsaturated and Saturated (bad) and are calorie dense so 1g of Fat provides 9 calories (as compared to Carb and Prot which provides 4calories). 
Calories are unit of energy.
Also, do not underestimate the importance of fibre. It is also a macronutrient you must be eating in adequate quantities. 
There are SO SO SO many diets out there, and so many guides to how you want to implement Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats into your diet. To name a few:

Ketogenic Diet: High Fat, Adequate Protein, Low Carbohydrate
IIFYM: Working out your macronutrient requirements according to BMI and activity level and dividing it, for example, 40/40/20
Clean Eating: Definition kind of unknown 
Paelo Diet: a diet aimed to mimic the diets of cavemen (meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts)
Eating Small Frequent meals e.g. 5 or 6


I personally do not have time to analyse every single diet and i abide by the simple fact that If your calorie intake is more than your calorie output than it will lead to weight gain.

In order to build lean muscle you must have an adequate intake of protein (1- 1.5g per lbs weight). I have experimented in the past where i have probably consumed 2309482349234g per lbs weight, and it didn't get me "lean muscle", it got me fat. It is not as simple as "consume a whole load of protein and your muscle will use it ALL", and studies have shown this. There have also been studies to show that consuming a bolus of protein after a workout is not more beneficial to lean muscle growth as having it throughout the day.

What i personally do, and it works for me, is i have calculated the number of calories i need in a day, and i use the IIFYM calculator because i like to stay on track with how much macronutrient i need to consume. I combine this with a 'clean eating' plan, because i like to eat healthy- it is easy for me as i have been brought up on healthy foods, and so i am not/never tempted by fast food etc. Some days your calorie expenditure is more, other times it is less so there are obvious flaws, but as long as i know that my intake is sufficient to fuel my workout, and to grow lean muscle without storing fat, then i can deal with that. Now everyone is different, and your metabolism may be slower or faster than the IIFYM accounts for, but this is why you need to own a mirror, and asses your progress through pictures/clothes/reflection/weight WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOOOOOUUU - and adjust accordingly. 
I also split my meals into 5 per day, because i like the concept of eating regularly because i like food and i don't feel bloated. It is a personal preference. The theory behind splitting your meals is that it prevents a hormone (Ghrelin) being released which is responsible for your appetite. Also, it is supposed to help regulate your glucose levels. A lot of people will argue against this. A lot of people also can't find time to eat 5x a day. Hence why you need to find something that WORKS for you, because if it doesn't feel convenient/manageable then guess what, 5 weeks down the line I BET YOU you wont be sticking to it. 

So i have breakfast around 10am, meal 2 around 12.30, meal 3 around 2.30, meal 4 5.30, Exercise, and then meal 5 straight after. 

PWO: Protein shake and banana

I ensure i have sufficient protein in meal 5, along with a fast-acting carbohydrate such as brown rice; there has been research done to prove protein uptake is faster and more effective if eaten with a fast acting carbohydrate. I also do not eat fats (my source is usually avacado) in meal 5 because it is believed that consumption of fats slows the uptake of protein, which your muscles require STAT after a workout. Remember, when you workout you are "damaging" the muscle, but thereafter the muscle hypertrophies (increases), providing there is sufficient amino acids. 

There is also a belief that fruit (-->fructose) is not regulated by insulin i.e. there is no insulin surge after you eat it, and thus many in the industry avoid fruit. Insulin is considered a pro-synthesis (anabolic) hormone for muscle. Also fructose must be broken down in the liver to be converted into glycogen first, and this delay means a greater chance of it being stored as fat. 

My Top Food Sources
Carbohydrates: Brown rice, Basmati Rice, Oats, Rice Cake
                          Quinoa, Mixed Grains
Protein: Tuna in spring water/brine, Chicken, Turkey, Egg [whites], Cottage cheese, Quark (if on the go: Protein bars, Protein shakes- will review in a later blog)
Fats: Avocado, egg Yolk
FibreBroccoli, Cauliflower, Pepper, Carrots, cherry tomatoes 

I enjoy green tea, fruit teas, normal tea, coffee which i have with skimmed milk and almond milk.

Water is your friend.

I do not use sugar, i rely on sweetener without Aspartame as there is a lot of bad press about it (my sources include Stevia, Splenda, Truvia, and i believe Candarel have a new one also)

Over summer, I sat and went through the whole process of working out calories, grams of macronutrients in all my favourite/usual foods and i have set meal plans for me that fit my requirements. Some may be able to pay a nutritionist for them to do this, but I didn't feel i needed to, being all Miss Independent and all. I did this because i had a really poor concept of portion-control and i knew something wasn't quite right in my portions because i had odd cravings and low energy at times (which lead to over-eating at naughty times). This, by the way, took a whole days work, and you will feel a little ridiculous googling the information/looking through packets and the back of tins etc, but once its all calculated ITS DONE. It eliminated a lot of guilt and guess-work i had, and it helped me 'trust the process' a lot more, because i knew i wasn't under-providing for my body or over-indulging (when you calculate things, you realise it is extremely easy to do). It also helped put food in perspective as a nutrient-provider, and some things did shock me like how much carbs are in one thing, and how much protein in another ETC. I also prepare some of my meals in advance, like if i know i'm going to get home after my gym workout and want food THEN AND THERE. 

I found this site particularly useful for my calculations:

--> If you want something extra-ordinary you've got to do something that other people aren't willing to do
--> If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
--> 100% effort put into training, 100% put into your diet
--> Abs are made in the gym, but exposed in the kitchen.
--> It is a lifestyle.

NB: Source of science papers:

A good read by someone i respect greatly in the industry: