Nutritional Advice to Trim Fat & Build Lean Muscle Tissue

posted on 17-09-2014

If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories per day than you have been eating (or do more exercise to burn more calories than you consume). In general, foods high in fat contain a lot of calories. However, there are other foods that contain a lot of calories. In particular, sweets and sugar do not contain fat, but are high in calories. Therefore, in addition to a low-fat diet, you also have to watch out for other types of foods such as sweets and sugary foods. See table below.

Carbohydrates: Carbs is broken down by the body into glycogen and stored in the muscles and liver and has a direct effect on your exercise performance. While I don’t endorse a no-carb diet, cutting down on your daily carbohydrate intake can definitely help you look more toned and ripped. The main reason for this is that most foods that are high in carbohydrates are also high in fats, sugars, or calories in general. Reducing your carb intake and replacing highly processed carbs (such as white flour, white pasta, white bread) with whole grains can really cut down on your daily calorie intake.

There are 2 basic types of carbohydrates:

  • Simple carbs: These are sugars or food that contains either natural or added sugar e.g. sugar, molasses or corn syrup, Dairy products and some fruits and vegetables are also classified as simple carbohydrates because they contain natural sugars. Simple carbs are transported directly into the blood and used as oxygen.


  • Complex Carbs: Complex carbohydrates are foods that are made from several linked   sugars. Complex carbs are often healthier than simple carbs because in addition to being starchy, they also provide you with some of your dietary fiber. Examples of complex carbs are corn, bread, cereal, pasta, rice and some vegetables. Complex carbohydrates are also converted into glucose during digestion and gives a slow released of energy during normal daily routines or increased physical activity.

Protein: Protein is often called the building blocks of the body. Protein consists of combinations of structures called amino acids that combine in various ways to make muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. They serve other functions as well including nutrient transportation and enzyme production. In fact, over 10,000 different proteins are in the body. Protein is also needed to repair and build the muscles that are beaten up during exercise. The theoretical calculation is that the body

 needs between 1.2g – 2.0g of protein per kg of body weight per day depending on your physical activity. There are twenty different types of amino acids that support the body, each having its own function. Nine of which are essential and eleven non essential. Non-essential amino acids can be created from other chemicals found in the body. Essential amino acids can not and must be found in food, here is a list of the essential amino acids:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine


Fats: Not all fat is bad! Although all fats are high in calories, we need some fat in our diet, and some types of fat are actually good for our health (See below for the different types).

Eat less of the following:

  • Butter, hard margarine and other solid spreading fats (Check label: avoid products containing animal fat, hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, partially hydrogenated oil)
  • Deep-fried food
  • Fatty meats and processed meat products (e.g. Sausages, burgers, meat pies)
  • Pastry dishes
  • Cakes, biscuits, puddings
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese


(These foods are high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids but relatively low in other essential nutrients)


Make the following substitutions:

  • Semi-skimmed or skimmed instead of full fat milk.
  • Low fat spread or peanut butter instead of butter or margarine.
  • Low fat cheese (e.g. cottage cheese, quark) instead of ordinary cheese.
  • Jacket or boiled potatoes instead of chips.
  • Chicken, fish or lean meat instead of fatty meat, burgers and sausages.
  • Crackers, rice cakes or fruit bars instead of biscuits and cakes
  • Fresh fruit instead of chocolate.                                

(These foods provide some fats together with other essential nutrients)


Make the following changes:

  • Limit frying to stir frying with modest amount of pure vegetable oil (olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil) instead of butter.
  • Top baked potatoes with fromage frais, cottage cheese or baked beans.
  • Remove skin from chicken or turkey.
  • Grill, bake, stir fry or boil instead of frying.
  • Make low fat salad dressing with flavoured vinegar (e.g. raspberry) yoghurt seasoned with fresh herbs, lemon or lime juice; fromage frais (low fat cheese) seasoned with mustard.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off as much fat as possible.
  • Each meal should contain a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • Include Good Fats: Monounsaturated: olive, canola, sunflower, peanut and sesame oils, peanut butter, avocado, nuts and olives. Polyunsaturated: soya bean, corn, sunflower oils, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Flaxseed, sesame seeds, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring, trout etc), soya milk and tofu.
  • Include a lot of salad and vegetables in your diet
  • Increase your fiber intake (fruit and vegetables contains fibre)
  • Your meal intake should include the following: Carbohydrate 50% - 55% (potatoes, sweet potatoes, wholegrain rice, pasta etc) Protein 25% - 30% (meat, fish, eggs etc) Fats: 15% - 20% (avocados, olives, nuts etc)
  • Use meal replacement protein drinks and bars as a between meals snacks, they are safe and have a lot of the required nutrients.
  • Exclude Bad Fats: Saturated:  high fat cut of meat (beef, pork, lamb), chicken with skin, butter, cheese, ice cream, lard. Trans fats: pasties, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, packaged snack foods, popcorn, candy bars, fried foods (chips, fried chicken, breaded fish etc) 

(These will reduce your fat intake while supplying other essential nutrients)

Other changes:

  • Try eating 5-6 small meals and snacks each day (including a nutritious breakfast)
  • Drink two litres of water each day (more on training days), water has no calories and will discourage gorging. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake each morning, it lubricates the inside of your body and you will need less quantity of breakfast.
  • Dieting (reducing calories) will make you lose weight; exercise will burn calories and build lean tissue. Dieting without exercise will not give you that toned and lean look. Therefore you must combine the two in order to get that toned, healthy lean look.
  • An adequate amount of rest/sleep is also very important.

Organic/Plant Supplements:

If you are kickboxer, boxer, fitness enthusiast, weight trainer etc, you will need to consume some kind of supplement to aid you in your daily exercise programme. It’s very difficult to get the right amount and the right quality of good protein, fats and fibres in your diet, good quality carbohydrates are readily available. Listed below are some organic supplements that are available and will provide all of the nutrients needed for a good health.

Chia Seeds: Comes seeded or milled: Chia is a member of the mint family from Mexico and South America. The flowering plant can sprout in a matter of days, but chia’s appeal is in the nutritional punch of its tiny seeds.

With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, a wealth of antioxidants and minerals, a complete source of protein and more fibre than flax seed, the seeds have been dubbed a “dieter’s dream”, “the running food”, “a miracle”, and “the ultimate super food”, by advocates and athletes.

Spirulina Powder/Tablets: Comes in powdered or in tablet form: Spirulina contains high amounts of protein, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

Chlorella Powder/Tablets: Comes in powdered or tablet form: Chlorella is consumed by many people because of the possible health benefits it provides. In many studies it has proven to be effective for: The prevention of cancer, stimulating the immune system, preventing common infections, Reducing high blood pressure and many more benefits. Chlorella is often used with spirulina as a powerful source of vitamins, minerals and protein but can also be used by itself.

Barley Grass Powder: Barley grass contains very large amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients. These include: essential and non-essential amino acids, high amounts of antioxidants, high amounts of carotenoids, including beta carotene - apparently more than 6 times the amount of carotene in spinach and many more essential nutrient.

Wheatgrass Powder: Wheatgrass is fast becoming one of the most widely used health food supplements. Packed with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes that feed and cleanse the cells of toxins, wheatgrass is perfect for anyone interested in good health.

Alfalfa Powder: Alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat several health conditions. It is considered the richest land source of trace minerals. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients Alfalfa makes an amazing herbal remedy.

Hemp Protein Powder: Hemp protein offers several advantages. It is a complete protein containing all the Amino Acids including all the Essential Amino Acids (EAAs). Structurally it also contains 65% Edistin – the highest percentage amongst all plant-based proteins. Edistin is a globulin protein which is closer to what you find in your blood so it is readily available to feed your muscle. And while protein is a crucial component for muscle repair and building, so too are essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants and a host of other nutritional components - all found in hemp protein.

Health & Fitness Tips

posted on 17-09-2014

  • Adults should do at least two sessions of muscle strengthening exercises each week
  • Walking is a good way to get aerobic physical activity
  • Physically active people are less likely to develop chronic diseases
  • Always check with your doctor before starting a physical activity programme
  • Regular physical activity has many feel good and health benefits
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout
  • Stretching after your workout will reduce muscle stiffness.
  • Before reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water or green tea, green tea suppresses the appetite.
  • Always combine a weight loss diet with a resistance exercise programme.
  • Your calorific loss should be 50% nutrition and 50% physical activity.
  • Weight training builds lean tissue, which burns calories at a high rate.
  • Choose exercises that are appropriate to your level and health and fitness goals.
  • Consume more omega 3 fatty acids from fish and plant sources.
  • Cool down helps prevent muscle soreness, dizziness and fainting.
  • Hold cool down stretch positions for 20-25 seconds.
  • Skipping meals will slow your metabolism down, the body will store the fat by the end of the day.
  • People who eat breakfast are more capable of managing their weight.
  • A good posture allows your internal organs to function better and helps prevent neck and back pains.
  • During rest the muscle rebuild and repair itself, allow between 48-72 hours between workouts of the same muscle group.
  • Keep your core activated during exercise.
  • Eat small regular meals every 3-4 hours
  • Use fruit and raw vegetables as your between meals snacks.

Sports Specific Exercises

posted on 17-09-2014

Plyometric Exercises: The movements performed in training should be as closely as possible replicated in the movements encountered in your main sport or competition. Plyometric exercises are designed to produce speed and strength in order to achieve power. Throughout this century and no doubt long before, jumping, bounding and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance. In recent years, this distinct method of training for power or explosiveness has been termed plyometrics. Whatever the origins of the word plyometric, the term is used to describe the method of training that seeks to enhance the explosive reaction of the individual through powerful muscular contractions because of rapid eccentric contractions.

Plyometric Exercises together with other commonly used exercises e.g. bench press, squats, biceps curls, triceps extension, running etc could give an athlete a very powerful advantage in competitive sport. When training for a specific discipline it is important to brainwash the muscles so that when in competition the muscle memory can be easily activated, this will also helps to prevent injury.

Kickboxing Plyometric Exercises (Always engage the abdominal muscles during exercise):

Basic Press ups on Knuckles (Muscle Group: Chest, Deltoids, Triceps): (Arms slightly wider than shoulders width, back straight (neutral spine), feet hip width apart, release your chest down below the height of your elbows & back to starting the position (do not lock elbows).

Spiderman/Oblique Press ups (Muscle Group: Chest, Deltoids, Triceps, Core Stability): As you lower chest to the floor, abduct your leg on the outside of your body attempting to touch your elbow with your knee & return it to the starting position as you come back to the starting position. Repeat alternately for the desired repetitions.

Single Leg Press ups (Muscle group: Chest, Deltoids, Triceps, Core Stability): As you lower your chest towards the floor, lift one leg off the floor alternately, repeat for the desired repetitions.

Side to Side Press ups (Muscle Group: Chest, Deltoids, Triceps): Perform a basic press up, move one shoulder width to the right and perform a press up and keep moving left to right until the desired number is reached.

Squat & Front Kicks (Muscle group: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, erector spine): Feet hip/shoulder width apart, squat so that your bottom is just above the knee height, keeping your knees over your ankles, bottom back as if sitting on a chair. As you come up lift knee and perform a front kick (do not lock knees), repeat on alternate side for the desired number of repetitions.

Knee Lift & Roundhouse kick (Muscle Group: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, Abdominals): Feet hip width apart, lean to one side, lift the opposite leg and perform a roundhouse kick, tap the toes on the floor and repeat,  perform the desired repetitions and the repeat on the opposite side.

On the Spot Bounding (Muscle group: Calf, Quadriceps, Hamstrings): Stand in fighting stance position (left leg forward, hands up, fists clenched), lift the left leg, bend the knee, hold knee as high as possible and point toes downwards, turn the body sideways. Lift the standing heel off the floor and bounce on the ball of the foot for the desired time. Repeat on the opposite side.

Physical Exercise - Fitness Tips

posted on 17-09-2014

Physical exercise is good for you, this can be achieved in a number of ways, but it is up to each individual on which fitness vehicle to ride on. When looking at fitness there are important  factors such as age, body types, lifestyle, current state of health etc to take into consideration. Then there is the type of fitness, there is cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, motor fitness, general fitness and sport specific fitness. Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease at any stage in life; it can also keep the lungs healthy, tone muscles, keep bones and ligaments strong, burn calories and many other benefits.

  • Health experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five times a week. It might sound like hard work but fast walking counts as a ‘moderate intensity’ exercise.
  • It’s also good to cross train, choose a core exercise that you enjoy, e.g. kickboxing (twice weekly) and do other supplementary exercises e.g. jogging or weight training on another two days.
  • If you are new to kickboxing/physical exercise, I would advise everyone to check with their doctor before starting on any exercise programme.
  • Advise your doctor of the type of exercise that you are planning to start so that he can advise you of any health dangers etc.
  • Once you’ve received the all clear, I would advice you to start slowly so that your body can adjust to the type of physical activity and you can also develop you motor (brain) fitness. Remember, if you have not been exercising then this will be a shock to your body.
  • If you are joining a kickboxing/exercise class, tell the instructor that it’s your first time or if you have any concerns or have had any back, knee problems etc.
  • A good instructor will always ask the right questions when new members join his class, he/she will then be able to give you modification to any exercise that could aggravate a current or old injury etc.
  • When I personal train clients or students join my kickboxing class, I ask them to complete a medical questionnaire, this includes personal details, next of kin and questions on the medical side etc. As an instructor it’s good to have these on file in case there is an insurance claim against you.
  • Ideally exercise should be performed on alternate days or different type of training or different muscle group on consecutive days.
  • Be sure of what you want to achieve and design your exercise schedule for that purpose. For general fitness you need to include a mixture of cardiovascular, endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility.
  • If your goal is to burn fat, tone up and look lean, then I would recommend that you perform functional /compound exercises where each exercise engage both primary and secondary muscle groups. The duration of training should about 60 minutes and you should only have a maximum of 30 seconds between sets/exercises. On cardiovascular exercises aim to work at around 55%  to 65%  of your maximum heart rate.
  • It’s also important to warm up and cool down at the end of your workout. Warming up gets your body ready for your main workout, whilst cool down return your body to its original state. Cool down is also important to prevent muscle stiffness and blood pooling.