The Doughnut Diet – FREE 7 Day Flexible Eating Challenge 🍩

Sign up for The Doughnut Diet – FREE 7 Day Flexible Eating Challenge 🍩, where I will be teaching you the system I use for losing fat 💪 while still being able to include junk food 🍕.

🎥 I will be emailing you a short video (most are a little over 5 mins or so) each day over the duration of the challenge.  To make things easier, I’ve provided notes for each video too, that you can download.  So please check your inbox daily!  

✏️ Each day, I’ll be setting you a few very short tasks to do (it’ll only take 5 mins), so please keep on track and complete the daily tasks! It’s all important for teaching you my method for losing body fat 💪 without cutting out junk food! 🍩

❓If you have any questions or are unsure about anything, please feel free to join my Facebook group and ask any questions.  The link is here:

SIGN UP HERE for The Doughnut Diet – FREE 7 Day Flexible Eating Challenge 🍩

flexible eating

I thought I’d take a moment to answer some FAQs…

Q: I’m really busy and short on time. How much time do I need to take part in The Doughnut Diet Challenge?

A: Each day of the challenge, you will be required to watch a short video (maybe 5 mins or so) emailed to you. You will be set quick tasks to do each day, which should only take another 5 mins or so. So really, you are only looking at a time commitment of maybe 15 mins or so each day over the 7 days of the challenge.

Q: I have very little experience with nutrition or dieting. Do I have to know anything about counting calories or macros?

A: No, you don’t need any prior dieting experience! All will be explained to you over the course of the challenge, so even if you are completely new to dieting, don’t worry!

Q: I already know how to count calories and know a bit about nutrition. Is the challenge still suitable for me?

A: Yes, absolutely. Some of the earlier modules of the challenge might seem basic to you if you already have a good knowledge base on nutrition. But I urge you not to be tempted to skip any videos – they act as a good reminder even if you aren’t new to dieting. Also, I competed in natural bodybuilding for years (so was well accustomed with calories and macros), but still learned (and continue to learn to this day) new elements of nutrition. And this is how I came across this flexible eating system in the first place, enabling me to lose fat whilst still eating junk food.

Q: Do I need to be exercising through the duration of the challenge?

A: I’d always recommend that people exercise, as long as they have been medically cleared to do so, of course. But no, exercise is not compulsory for the challenge. The contents of the challenge focus on the dieting side of fat loss (while incorporating junk food!), so the exercise component of fat loss is beyond the scope of this challenge. Exercise combined with dieting is the most efficient way to lose fat, but exercise is not compulsory to lose fat.

More FAQs…

Q: What things do I need for the challenge?

A: Ideally, you will have a working set of kitchen scales (preferably digital). You will have access to a set of body weight scales to weigh yourself. You will have a smart phone so to download the MyFitnessPal calorie counting app (the app has a free version). And you will have access to Facebook through the duration of the challenge (either on your phone, tablet, or laptop, it doesn’t matter), so to access my Facebook group.

Q: If I get stuck or confused with anything during the challenge, are you available to provide help?

A: Yes! You will have access to me through my Facebook group, so if you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the group and I will respond as soon as I can. Note that I don’t check my Facebook direct messages so often, so please post in the group for the fastest response from me.

Q: Can I really get ripped just by eating junk food?

A: Yes, in fact you can get ripped by eating NOTHING but junk food, and some people do actually. BUT, this is NOT what I recommend, as it is simply not healthy. What is the point in getting lean and “looking” good, only to soon suffer from an array of health complications? As you will see through what I teach in the challenge, I advocate a balanced healthy diet and lifestyle, that doesn’t involve cutting out any foods (so still including junk food in moderation as part of a balanced diet). This is the key to healthy, realistic, sustainable, permanent results!

SIGN UP HERE for The Doughnut Diet – FREE 7 Day Flexible Eating Challenge 🍩

I wore a Waist Trainer for a month. Here’s what happened

I wore a waist trainer for a month.  Here’s what happened

I’m not particularly proud of it, but it’s true: I wore a waist trainer.  For a whole month.

I’m always learning, so I’m often experimenting, trying and testing out different things that are fitness related.  The whole concept of waist trainers had me curious, so I figured “hey, what have I got to lose?”

What is a waist trainer?

For those who don’t know, when I say “waist trainer”, I am referring to what can only be described as a modern-day less-extreme version of a corset!  (Yes, I know I am only damaging my reputation even more here by telling you that I was basically wearing a corset!)

waist trainer

Essentially a waist trainer is a tightly worn belt that compresses your midsection, and it is to be worn for long durations of time daily, over periods of months or longer. I wore a waist trainer for most of the day for one month.  Albeit a shorter time period, I figured it was enough time to notice any changes that might occur.  Note, that I did not wear it whilst working out.

I am NOT referring to one of those compression belts made from neoprene.  Those are in my opinion a complete waste of time.  All they do is make you sweat from your abdominal area. They do not make you burn fat from your belly.  The only way to burn fat is by creating a calorie deficit, through diet and exercise. And even then, you can’t pick and choose the areas you lose fat from!

However, I must say that waist trainers (and corsets too), also do not make you lose belly fat.  You’ll need to be eating in a calorie deficit and exercising consistently to lose fat!

What are waist trainers meant to do?

Waist trainers are theoretically meant to make your waist “narrower”.  Obviously, they are unlikely to make your waist narrower from a front view.  You cannot change the size of your pelvis – this is determined by bone structure.  Though there is the possibility of waist trainers “atrophying” (making smaller) your oblique muscles (the core muscles that run down the outer sides of your midsection).  If this were to occur, then yes, to a degree, it could make your waist appear narrower from a front view.

More likely though, waist trainers are meant to force you to keep your stomach “sucked in”.  Thus, making your waist appear smaller from a side view, overcoming any stomach distention.  Basically, this means they are meant to encourage you to tense the Transversus Abdominis muscles – the abs muscles used to perform a stomach vacuum – read more about that in my posts HERE:

What did I do?

As mentioned, I wore a waist trainer every day for a month, wearing it for the most part of each day. I made sure to wear it tightly too, to ensure effectiveness (if it were to actually do anything, of course!)

I didn’t wear it while working out, because I found it restrictive to move in or to breath as deeply as necessary to perform hard exercise.  Also, when performing exercise, I need my core muscles to be fully engaged.  I was wary that the waist trainer might make it more difficult to fully engage my core muscles.  This is because it would act similarly to a tight lifting belt, and take away the need for my core muscles to tense as hard as they normally would whilst exercising.

waist trainer

What happened?

Nothing happened, to be honest!  I got fed up of wearing it, because it wasn’t very comfortable.  Though out of stubbornness, I did continue to wear it each day for a month.

But no, my waist size remained the same.  I didn’t see any changes in how far I could perform a stomach vacuum either (i.e. how far I could suck my gut in).  In fact, if anything, I think my core muscles (including my Transversus Abdominis muscles) got weaker, so making it harder to do stomach vacuums to suck my gut in. This is probably because those core muscles got “lazy”.  I guess that after a while, they got used to being supported by the waist trainer.  I’ve seen the same thing happen with people who unnecessarily wear a lifting belt all the time whilst exercising.

The take home message

Save your time and money. Don’t bother with waist trainers. No, they don’t encourage you to burn body fat anyway.  The only way to burn fat is by creating a calorie deficit through diet and exercise. And even then, you can’t pick and choose the areas you lose fat from!  

Extra sweating from your midsection isn’t very helpful either.  This also doesn’t encourage fat loss!

You may possibly (though I think unlikely) be able to make your waist “smaller”.  But I think for that, you’d have to wear an actual corset. It would have to be VERY tight fitting, which would be VERY uncomfortable.  And I imagine that you’d have to wear it for the most part of each day, probably over a period of years!  In my opinion, this is definitely NOT worth it!

If you want to make your waist “smaller”, then continue to diet and exercise to bring your body fat down. And, also perform resistance training to make your shoulders and lats “bigger”, giving you a nice “V-taper” and creating the illusion of a smaller waist!

I talk more about training for bigger shoulders in my post HERE:

I talk more about training for wider lats HERE:

To find out more about my Online Coaching Services, please click the link HERE!

Training during Ramadan

When you cannot eat or drink for 16 hours or so each day, what do you do?!

Training during Ramadan? A question I get asked regularly each year, is how to best eat and train during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims around the world, for it is within this month that the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed.  A special requirement for this month is that all Muslims who are able to, are required to fast every day from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from all eating or drinking, and not even water is allowed.

Harder than Intermittent Fasting

Clearly this is very different from the Intermittent Fasting (IF) protocols that are popular at the moment. At least with IF you still drink fluids whilst fasting. But for Ramadan, this is not the case!

To make matters even more difficult, the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar. So the timing of the Islamic months continues to change each year.  Unfortunately, Ramadan this year begins in May, meaning that in the UK sunrise is actually around 5.00am and sunset isn’t until around 9.00pm.  So yes, for those that are able to do it, the requirement is nil-to-mouth, so no food or water during this time.  This equates to about 16 hours!  So that means that Muslims are left with a very small window to eat and drink each day, and that’s it!

training during Ramadan

Reduce your exercise – but don’t stop it completely!

Considering how difficult this task will make carrying out simple everyday routine activities, like going to work or school, it seems that sensible advice would be to put to temporarily significantly reduce the amount of any hard exercise you do.  Your body will be under a lot of stress and be severely depleted and dehydrated, so trying to train hard frequently and for long workouts would only stress the body even more, and potentially exhaust yourself and make yourself unwell.

The bad news is that you have to accept that your body will quite possibly lose SOME muscle, lose SOME strength, and gain SOME fat.  The good news is that it most likely will only be YOU that notices it!  And don’t worry, after Ramadan your body will very quickly return to the level of conditioning it was in before Ramadan.

That is not to say that you should do absolutely nothing during Ramadan, no!

training during Ramadan

Strength Training

In order to maintain as much strength and muscle as possible, it is recommended to perform very short but hard resistance training workouts.  I’d suggest limiting hard training sessions to 2 or 3 a week, and to only train for 40 minutes at the most.  In fact, quick 30-minute workouts would be even better.

Save your energy and training time for compound exercises that involve using multiple muscle groups at once.  I’d suggest performing 3 hard working sets of 5 – 8 reps per exercise, with 2 minutes or so rest between sets.  Warm up with a couple of easy sets before each exercise.  And pick 3 to 5 exercises per workout.

Free weight exercises would be best for this, like barbell squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bent over rows, and bench press.  BUT, if you are feeling tired, weak, or groggy, then safety must take priority! So if you aren’t feeling up to it, then take caution and use the smith machine, or opt to use resistance machines instead.  Safety first!

training during Ramadan

Extra Training

On maybe 2 or 3 of the other days that you don’t train hard, you can perform “easy” mobility and flexibility exercises and drills.  These should not exert you too much, and can consist of bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, chin ups, dips, body weight squats and lunges.  You could also do some light weights exercises too if you wanted.  However, all of these exercises should be with an easy weight and again, should not exert you too much.  These are only to provide your muscles with SOME stimulation, and to practice the movements to prevent you feeling rusty upon returning to regular training after Ramadan.

You could do some of the exercises from my Dynamic Warm Up HERE!

training during Ramadan


As for cardio, it is really not recommended to do much more than walking. Besides perhaps 5 easy minutes of say the cross trainer or rowing machine to warm up.  However, if you really did feel obliged to do cardio, then HIIT on a stationary bike could be the way to go. 6 – 10 intervals of 20 second sprints, with 1 minute easy pedalling in between should do the job.

Just walking, on the other hand is fine and I recommend it. Still get your 10,000 steps a day!

training during Ramadan

When to train

As for what time to train, I’d say, if possible, to train in the morning when you are fresher and hydrated from eating and drinking the night before.

The downside however, of training earlier in the day, is that if you overdo it and train too hard, there is a chance that you will struggle to make it through the rest of the day until sunset!  So be mindful of this, and don’t overexert yourself!

Otherwise, you could train before sunset as late in the evening time as possible, so that as soon as you finish you can immediately go home and eat and drink.  Of course, you will be weaker and more depleted at this time, so you will have to pay extra attention to safety in your choice of exercises.

It might be tempting to try and train during the night after eating, but I really advise against it.  The window for eating and drinking is so small, that you need to be using this time as best as possible just for that – eating and drinking!  Don’t waste sunset hours training!

training during Ramadan

Sample Routine for Training during Ramadan

Monday – Strength Training

  1. Barbell Squat (or Leg Press) 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. Overhead Dumbbell Press (or Smith Machine Shoulder Press) 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Barbell Bent Over Row (or Seated Cable Row) 3 sets of 6 reps
  4. Dumbbell Bench Press (or Smith Machine Bench Press) 3 sets of 8 reps

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Tuesday – Mobility / Flexibility


  1. Push ups 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Bodyweight Lunges 3 sets of 10 reps / side
  3. Crunches 3 sets of 20 reps

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Wednesday – Mobility / Flexibility


  1. Bench Dips 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Bodyweight Squats 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Lying Leg raises 3 sets of 20 reps

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Thursday – Strength Training

  1. Barbell Deadlift (or Weighted Hyperextensions) 3 sets of 6 reps
  2. Barbell Overhead Press (or Shoulder Press Machine) 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Weighted Pull Ups (or Lat Pull Down Machine) 3 sets of 8 reps
  4. Barbell Bench Press (or Chest Press Machine) 3 sets of 8 reps

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Friday – Rest

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Saturday – Mobility / Flexibility


  1. Push ups with feet elevated 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Glute Bridges 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Plank 3 sets of 45 second hold

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

Sunday – Rest

10,000 steps walking throughout the day

training during Ramadan

What to eat

That covers training during Ramadan. As for what to eat during Ramadan, there are two approaches: on the one hand you could say “forget it!” and just eat whatever, and worry about following a good diet again after. Or the second approach, which is to take a more thought out strategy.

If you were going to go with the second approach, I would actually recommend following as close to a ketogenic diet as possible, so that means focussing on eating protein and healthy fats, but eating as few (preferably no) carbs as possible.  The reason for this, is that if you eat carbs your body will no doubt burn through this energy source part way through the next day, causing you to “bonk” so to borrow a word from cycling.

When you “bonk” your body runs out of carbs as an energy source, causing your body to go through a difficult transitional period of adapting to use fats and/ or protein for energy.  This transitional period can be accompanied by brain fog, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache, moodiness, amongst other unwelcome symptoms.  So rather than experiencing these symptoms on a daily basis through Ramadan, simply abstain from eating carbs, put your body into a fat burning state, and remain that way until the end of Ramadan.

This means avoiding carbs, which includes obvious things like sugary drinks (diet drinks are OK) and fruit juice, but also avoiding bread, rice, pasta, milk, fruit, and things that include “hidden carbs” like ketchup and sauces.  This may sound difficult, especially the part about avoiding fruit since dates are traditionally consumed to break the fast, but if you HAVE to have a date then limit it to just one!  For the first few days of this diet you may struggle and crave carbs and sugary things once it comes time to eat, but don’t do it!  It’s for your own good!  These cravings will subside after the first few days and this diet will make the rest of Ramadan A LOT easier for you.

training during Ramadan


You should carry on training during Ramadan, and we’ve discussed nutrition. But it is up to you whether you choose to track calories during Ramadan.  Though to be honest, I’d recommend that you DO track calories for the first week of fasting at least.  It will give you an idea of how many calories you are taking in, and make you more mindful about your food choices.  I suggest you use a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal (

If you’ve never used a calorie counting app before, I show you how to use it HERE!

Even if you carry on training during Ramadan, just remember that your activity levels will no doubt decrease. So you will not be moving as much and will be burning less calories.  Additionally, your metabolism will no doubt slow down as your body will try to preserve its resources during the fast.

See my post on Metabolism HERE

So, all of this means that your body will need less calories than it normally would on a daily basis.  Therefore, I wouldn’t worry about force feeding yourself after sunset to eat as many calories as possible, as this is NOT necessary!  Your body won’t need it!  If anything, you should focus more on rehydrating your body anyway.

training during Ramadan


We’ve covered training during Ramadan and eating. Lastly, an often forgotten topic of Ramadan is sleep.  Your eating schedule will be turned upside down during this month.  Many of you will be up until the early hours of the morning eating, yet you still have to go to work or school early the next day.  Really there is no solid remedy for this, besides if possible, getting in as many naps as you can.  If you are fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule where you can sleep in until later in the day, then great.  But otherwise, you will just have to do the best you can.  This may mean taking naps at lunch time, naps after work, and naps in the evening time.  And certainly use the weekends as a prime opportunity to catch up on those missed hours of sleep too!

training during Ramadan

Training during Ramadan and staying on top of your nutrition is difficult. It’s not easy, but on the plus side at least its only for one month!  Then your life can go back to normal after!  Good luck!

The “help I’ve got kids and a busy job” fitness plan

Life has a tendency to get in the way!  I remember back to the luxurious days of having all the time in the world to workout and eat well.  Then this whole “adulting” thing kind of happened.

You have to work longer hours.  You have more responsibilities.  More financial commitments.  Relationships to upkeep.  And then there are kids to worry about too!  (I don’t personally have any kids yet, but I’m experienced enough to know how it is when you do!)

So, for many of us, long gone are the days of five or more gym sessions a week.  In fact, for a lot of us, getting to the gym at all might be out of the question.  This is why I thought I would write this post, and I call it the “help I’ve got kids and a busy job” fitness plan.


Ok, let me address this one first.  I’m assuming that worst case scenario, you can’t make it the gym at all anymore. That means that equipment-free workouts are our solution.  They can be done in just 30 minutes.  And you can do them at home or on your lunch break at work if you have space.  I’d aim to perform 3 to 4 of these short workouts per week.


Interval training (HIIT – high intensity interval training) would be one of my preferences here, since you are limited for time.  Plus interval workouts can be completed quickly.  The simplest method would be just to run.  Warm up with a 5 minute jog, followed by 15 seconds of sprinting / hard running, then 45 seconds of walking to recover.  Perform 10 – 20 sprints with walking in between, and finish up with another 5 minute jog after.  Done.  

Note that to prevent injury, especially if you aren’t used to sprinting, I’d suggest “bounding” into each sprint and building up the speed until you are running flat out.  Build up rather than taking off like a sprinter at the start line.

busy fitness

Otherwise, if you happen to have an exercise bike, you could do a similar type workout using that. Ride easy for 5 minutes, building up the speed and resistance.  Then crank the resistance up and ride as hard as you can for 20 seconds, followed by 40 seconds at an easy resistance.  Repeat 10 – 20 times, again followed by 5 minutes of easy riding to finish.

If you can skip (jump rope), you could also do that.  Same format: 5 minutes warm up, 10 – 20 intervals of skipping hard for 15 – 20 seconds then 40 – 45 seconds of easy skipping.  Then 5 minutes of easy skipping to finish.

Note: only skip if you are actually half decent at it.  Otherwise, if you are continuously “messing up” and have to keep stopping, it removes the benefit of the workout.

Circuit training

Similar to interval training, use bodyweight exercises to perform a quick hard circuit.  I have done a series of videos demonstrating different equipment-free exercises you could use.  The video series is called “No Gym, No Problem” and you can see them here:

Pick 5 or so exercises, preferably a mixture of upper body exercises (e.g. push ups, tricep dips, Y handcuffs) and lower body exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, burpees).  Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Rest for 2 minutes after each circuit. Repeat the circuit 3 to 4 times.

busy fitness

For example:

  1. Mountain Climbers 30 secs, 30 secs rest
  2. Lying Abs Leg Raises 30 secs, 30 secs rest
  3. Bird Dogs 30 secs, 30 secs rest
  4. Tricep Dips 30 secs, 30 secs rest
  5. Squat to Toe Touches 30 secs, 30 secs rest.

Rest for 2 mins.  Repeat circuit 3 – 4 times.

Gym Training

If you are lucky enough to be able to make it to the gym, even just one day a week, then you will want to make best use of the opportunity.  That’s why I would recommend a full body workout using compound free weight exercises. These will work the most muscle groups at once, will burn the most calories, build the most strength, and take the least time.  Don’t waste the opportunity on “fluff” exercises like bicep curls or cable cross overs.

I’d recommend doing something like this:

  1. Barbell Back Squats 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
  2. Overhead Barbell Press 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
  3. Barbell Deadlift 4 sets of 6 reps, 1 to 2 minutes rest
  4. Lat Pull Down 3 sets of 10 reps, 1 minute rest
  5. Barbell Bench Press 3 sets of 10 reps, 1 minute rest
busy fitness

Besides the gym session laid out (if you are fortunate enough to make it to the gym at all), the workouts I’ve recommended can be done anywhere at any time and with almost no equipment.

You can do these workouts early morning before work.  Or maybe on your lunch break.  Otherwise, perhaps you can work out on an evening time.  It can be handy if your partner / spouse can watch the kids while you do a workout.  Or you can do it after you have put the kids to bed, while watching TV.


This is going to be the most important factor in staying in shape when you have a full schedule.  And sadly, this is where most people go wrong, even those who have the luxury of going to the gym as much as they want. Remember that you can’t out-train a bad diet!

To lose weight, you’ll want to be eating in a calorie deficit.  This means figuring out how many calories your body needs to maintain weight, and then making sure to eat fewer calories than this.  The easiest way to do this is by monitoring your calorie intake using a calorie counting app like MyFitnessPal

busy fitness

I talk in detail about figuring out your calorie intake for weight loss here:

If your lifestyle is mostly sedentary, in that if you spend the majority of your time physically inactive at work, and your time spent exercising is limited, then I recommend you prioritise protein and cruciferous vegetables in your diet.  I’m not saying to cut out carbohydrates.  But keep in mind that carbs are for energy.  So, if you aren’t moving a whole lot, then you probably won’t need many.


Protein is not just important for building and maintaining muscle and for growth and repair.  But protein is also very important for fat loss!

Your metabolism can slow down when eating in a calorie deficit over a prolonged time.  The fancy term for this is “adaptive thermogenesis”.  Having an adequate protein intake helps prevents this, so it assists in keeping your metabolism going!

Muscle mass is very “metabolically demanding”.  This means that more muscle tissue creates a higher energy demand.  So, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn!

busy fitness

Furthermore, an adequate protein intake helps with satiety. This means you will feel “fuller”, and you will be less tempted to cheat on your diet and eat more!  Protein also has a high “TEF level” (thermic effect of food).  This means that the process of digesting protein burns a fair number of calories in itself!

General guidelines for protein intake are to take in at least 1g of protein for every lb of lean body mass, each day.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are high in fibre, so aid in digestion.  They are also predominantly negligible calories – they end up burning so much energy just to digest that their calories don’t count!

Fibre helps you feel fuller during meals, as well as helping you feel fuller between meals too.  This mean that it will help you eat less!

busy fitness

Eat your protein, eat your fibre, and you’ve covered the most important elements of your diet!

I talk more about the importance of prioritising protein and fibre in your diet here:

Sample quick meals

Tuna salad

Chicken and mixed vegetables

Cottage cheese and celery sticks

Egg white and spinach omelette

Tofu with vegetables

Prawn salad

Whey protein shake blended with kale

Don’t eat the kids’ leftovers!

It is often tempting to snack on food leftover by your kids.  But be mindful that these extra calories all add up!

Whether you choose to eat the same food you give your children is up to you, but just monitor your calorie intake.  Otherwise, it is always an option to make food for the family as normal, but then make a slightly lower calorie version for yourself.  For example, if you were making spaghetti bolognaise for the family, you might want to replace the spaghetti on your plate for vegetables instead. Whatever you choose to do, just remember that it is YOU who is watching their diet – not necessarily your family. And your children’s energy demands and nutrient requirements may very well be different to yours!  Still though, it is always good to encourage the whole family to eat healthy food together!

Intermittent Fasting

IF (intermittent fasting) could be a good option for calorie control and convenience.  This involves limiting the timing of your food intake to a specific time window.  The most popular one is probably to fast for 16 hours, and then to eat during an 8 hour period, usually between 12pm and 8pm.  Basically, all you do is skip breakfast.  Of course, you could switch these times up to suit you better.

It can be convenient as it involves not having to make time to eat breakfast.  Or, if you shorten your eating window to skip breakfast and lunch too, you don’t have to worry about finding “healthy” food options when you are out.  You can just wait until you get home to eat.

Meal prep

It is often a good idea to prepare food in advance to save time, and to make sure that you always have “healthy” food to hand.  This can mean preparing the kids’ packed lunches for the week, as well as your own lunches.  You can also make dinner ready for the week too.  As you get better at it and more organised, you’ll see how much time cooking in bulk can save you.  You can use this time to squeeze in some home workouts!

Just cook food, package it up in containers, and store it in the fridge or freezer.  And don’t worry about having to eat the same food each day, because you won’t.  Chicken breast can be had several times a week, but just flavoured differently or served with other varying food options.  It will make it into completely different meals!

You might find it useful to create a weekly “menu” too, so you can plan ahead each week for what meals to have ready-cooked on what days.

There are other time saving tips, like to be sure to order your groceries online.  This saves you making time to go out and buy your food, which can be a long and stressful affair if you have to take young children with you to the supermarket.

Also, there are now various “meal prep companies” that will cook and deliver nutritious food for you. These are often quite pricy though.

An active lifestyle

Lastly, I want to talk about lifestyle change.  Make an effort to include more physical activity in your everyday life.  Often this is effortless and takes little to no extra time out of your day.  All extra physical activity you can do helps towards burning more calories.  This can be difference between losing weight and not losing any weight at all!

  • Monitor your step count using a fitness tracker like a FitBit.  Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day.
  • Cycle or walk short journeys
  • Take the stairs rather than elevators where possible
  • Do your daily chores like cleaning and tidying up
  • At work, walk over and talk to your colleagues rather than emailing
  • Take regular breaks from the computer during work to move around.  Your eyes need a break anyway!
  • Get up and move during TV adverts
  • Get up and walk around while talking on the phone
  • Stand on the train or bus rather than sitting
  • If possible, use a standing desk at work rather than sitting
  • Park your car further away and walk the rest of the way.

Having a busy schedule and a hectic lifestyle doesn’t have to mean that your health and fitness goes out the window.  With some time management and some organisation, you can say goodbye to your “dad bod” / “mum bod” (I don’t know if a “mum bod” is an actual thing, but I don’t like to discriminate!)

Post Workout Protein and the Anabolic Window

I remember it so well. Every time I would pack my gym bag before heading off for a workout, I would always be sure to include my post workout protein shake.  It would be ready mixed in my shaker bottle, ready to be slammed back as soon as I finished the session.  And on the odd occasion when I forgot to pack my protein shake, I would be horrified!

I would hurry home as fast as I could, to quickly get my protein down as fast as possible.  My eyes would be on my watch, as I raced the clock to consume my post workout protein shake within 45 minutes of finishing my workout.  Because if I didn’t get my protein in time, that gruelling workout I had just put myself through would be a total waste.  It would result in no muscle gain if I didn’t have protein within the 45-minute post workout anabolic window!  Little did I know that I had nothing to panic about!

The 45-minute post workout anabolic window

It used to be treated as gospel that in order to maximise muscle gains, you have to consume protein within 45 minutes of completing a resistance training workout.  This time frame is known as the “anabolic window”.  We now know that the “anabolic window” isn’t anywhere near as small, or as important, as we first thought.

Yes, post workout protein can help your muscles recover and grow.  And logically, since we know that protein is used by the body for growth and repair, it sounds like it makes sense to fuel your body with nutrients after having broken your muscle tissue down through hard training.  But still, this 45-minute period of panic isn’t the drastic affair we first believed.

It’s all about total daily protein intake

A meta-analysis by Schoenfeld et al considered23 high-quality studies on protein timing.  They concluded that the total amount of protein consumed each day was a lot more important for muscle growth, as opposed to “when” that protein was consumed.

The anabolic effects of protein last 5 – 6 hours

There is evidence to show that the muscle building effects of ingested protein actually last for 5 to 6 hours.  

Let’s put this into a real-life scenario.  

You have lunch (which includes a healthy serving of protein) at 1pm.  Work finishes at 5pm and get to the gym for 5.30pm, to workout for an hour.  You finish your workout at 6.30pm.  In this case, it would make sense to have a post workout protein shake, since it would have been 5 and half hours since your last protein intake.

Post Workout Protein

But, let’s look at another example.

You wake up, slam down a protein shake, and head straight to the gym for an early morning workout before work.  Say you have your protein shake at 7am, get to the gym for 7.30am, and finish training at 8.30am.  There would be no need to necessarily have a post workout protein shake immediately. You could simply wait up until lunch at 1pm, which is 6 hours after your morning pre-workout protein shake (as long as your lunch includes a healthy dose of protein).

Protein shakes aren’t necessary

Note that protein shakes are certainly not necessary either, they simply can act as a convenient means of meeting your protein requirements.

And off course, how frequently you consume protein throughout the day is entirely up to you.  Whether you have just 3 meals, or decide to have 6 meals, it is your choice.  As long as you go no longer than 6 hours without ingesting protein, your body will still have protein “in your system” to build muscle!  Just focus mainly on getting enough protein in total over the course of each day. Don’t fuss over “having” to necessarily take in protein immediately after working out.

How much protein do I need each day?

Research suggests that, if you are looking to build muscle and you are regularly resistance training, you should aim for at least 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight each day.  So basically, aim for 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight each day minimum.  It still seems to be unclear what the upper limit for daily protein intake is.  But we do know that there is no proven harm in taking in “extra” protein.

post workout protein

The take home message

  • Focus on consuming “enough” protein in total, over the course of each day.
  • Aim for at least 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight each day in total.  But more protein than this is fine too.
  • Protein will continue to have anabolic (muscle building) effect for 5 – 6 hours after consuming it.
  • Having protein immediately after working out, i.e. the 45-minute anabolic window, is not necessary.
Post Workout Protein


International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition
Alan A. Aragon, Brad J. Schoenfeld,Robert Wildman, Susan Kleiner, Trisha VanDusseldorp, Lem Taylor, Conrad P. Earnest, Paul J. Arciero, Colin Wilborn, Douglas S. Kalman, Jeffrey R. Stout, Darryn S. Willoughby, Bill Campbell, Shawn M. Arent, Laurent Bannock, Abbie E. Smith-Ryan and Jose Antonio
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201714:16
©  The Author(s). 2017Received: 25 May 2017Accepted: 30 May 2017Published: 14 June 2017

Lou Schuler and Alan Aragon, “The Lean Muscle Diet: a customized workout plan – eat the food your love to build the body you want and keep it for life”, Men’s Health, Rodale Inc.(2014).

de Souza R, Bray G, Carey V, Hall K, LeBoff M, Loria C, et al. Effects of 4 weight-loss diets differing in fat, protein, and carbohydrate on fat mass, lean mass, visceral adipose tissue, and hepatic fat: results from the POUNDS LOST trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(3):614–25.

Antonio J, Peacock C, Ellerbroek A, Fromhoff B, Silver T. The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014;11:19. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-19.

Antonio J, Ellerbroek A, Silver T, Orris S, Scheiner M, Gonzalez A, et al. A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women–a follow-up investigation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:39.

Antonio J, Ellerbroek A, Silver T, Vargas L, Peacock C. The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition–a crossover trial in resistance-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016;13:3. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0114-2.

Antonio J, Ellerbroek A, Silver T, Vargas L, Tamayo A, Buehn R, et al. A high protein diet has no harmful effects: a one-year crossover study in resistance-trained males. J Nutr Metab. 2016;2016:9104792. doi:10.1155/2016/9104792.

The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201310:53
©  Schoenfeld et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
Received:22 September 2013,Accepted:20 November 2013

“Metabolic Damage”

Last post I spoke about “starvation mode”.  If you missed it, you can read it HERE

Basically, I spoke about how “starvation mode” (at least the version most of us know it as) is a myth.

In this post I want to talk about a fairly similar topic: “metabolic damage”.

You may have heard this term thrown around lately, as it seems to be the latest fad within fitness circles.

What is metabolic damage?

So, the theory goes something like this…

You follow a calorie-controlled diet for a prolonged period of time.  You workout regularly and consistently (particularly doing a lot of cardio, too). Over the weeks and months you manage to drop body fat and maintain or even build muscle mass too.  But what happens next?

It appears that all of that dieting and training negatively impacted your basal metabolic rate (slowed your metabolism).  Your body starts burning less calories than it should. And this ultimately brings your fat loss to a halt.  It has “damaged” your metabolism, i.e. “metabolic damage”.  Now the only way to fix it is by following a super complicated far-out bunch of witchcraft type diet techniques.

Not true.

Is metabolic damage real?

No, metabolic damage is not real.  End of article.  Just kidding! Keep reading.

As discussed in my post on “starvation mode”, when you are in a prolonged calorie deficit, it is true that processes do take place in the body to prevent further weight loss.  But it won’t “stop” you from losing fat.  And there are some external factors at play too when dieting.

So, it is true that:

 – You naturally tend to feel more tired and move less – i.e. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) levels decrease (fidgeting, pacing, walking, etc).

– Also, it is true that your metabolism begins to slow down after consistent dieting (this is adaptive thermogenesis), meaning your body will burn less calories while at rest.

What may be classed as external factors, are:

– TEF (thermic effect of food) levels decrease, probably because you’ll be eating less food due to dieting.  So, your body will burn less calories through the process of digestion.

– You will burn less calories during exercise, because your body adapts to become more efficient at carrying out exercise while saving energy.  Plus, it may very well be that you are not training as hard as you think you are, if energy levels are declining from dieting.

But no, your body does not enter a “mode” where it refuses to drop body fat!  Nor does your metabolism get damaged.

The Minnesota Experiment

I want to refresh your memories from my last post on “starvation mode” POST,and again mention the Minnesota Experiment.

You can read more details about this in my previous post. To summarise, an experiment was conducted on starvation.  The participants were genuinely starved (extremely low calories) and forced to perform hard physical activity every day for six months.  The findings of this dangerous study were that the participants lost 25% of their bodyweight on average.  And, despite being starved and worked to exhaustion, the participants’ only saw a fairly small reduction in their basal metabolic rate (metabolism).  Furthermore, this decrease in their basal metabolic rate was significantly remedied after twelve weeks of following a normal diet again.

The take home message: their bodies did not suffer metabolic damage.  They continued to lose weight over the duration of the experiment.  And their metabolisms pretty much returned to normal afterwards.  If this is what happened to these guys after six months of torturous conditions, do you really think it will be different for you? In comparison, your diet of a slight calorie deficit , with workouts a few times a week is a breeze!

And another metabolic damage study

Still not convinced?  OK, here’s another paper.  They concluded that “the theory of permanent, diet-induced metabolic slowing in non-obese individuals is not supported by the current literature”.

The rate of weight loss did slow down, but it never came to a stop.  And participants continued to lose weight for the duration of the study.

Zinchenko, Anastasia & Henselmans, Menno. (2016). Metabolic Damage: do Negative Metabolic Adaptations During Underfeeding Persist After Refeeding in Non-Obese Populations?. Medical Research Archives. 4. 10.18103/mra.v4i8.908.

Then why does it seem that fat loss stalls after prolonged dieting?

This question is actually very simple to answer.

  1. Fat loss tends NOT to be linear, especially after dieting for a little while.  This means that after a few weeks into a calorie-controlled diet, you may very well not see a pattern of regular fat loss each week.  You might lose 1lb one week, 2lbs the next week, no change for the next two weeks, and then 1lb the week after.  It’s not always linear!  You may think that your body is not dropping fat anymore, when in fact it still is. The process just may have become slower.
  • You may be gaining muscle mass whilst dropping body fat.  This is especially possible for those new to resistance training.  If you lose a lb of fat but gain a lb of muscle, then your body weight will not have changed.
  • You may be retaining water.  This can happen depending on:
  1. hydration levels,
  2. the time of day you weigh yourself,
  3. your stress (cortisol) levels,
  4. your menstrual cycle if you are female,
  5. or even due to how much food you have still in your digestive system.
  • The most likely solution – you are eating too much.  Even when you have the best of intentions in sticking to your diet, adherence becomes harder and harder over time.  Portion sizes slowly begin to creep up, whether you know it or not. The best fix for this is to weigh and log all of your food and drink.

OK, metabolic damage doesn’t exist.  But what should I do after I finish dieting so to prevent regaining fat?

The answer to this question is really simple: reverse dieting.  I talk more about reverse dieting in this post HERE from when I used reverse dieting myself after dieting.  To sum it up, it is exactly as the name implies.  It is the process of gradually increasing calories and / or decreasing exercise levels over a time period to give your metabolism time to adjust back to normal, without piling on body fat.

I hope you found this post useful.  Yes, your metabolism will slow down a little from dieting.  But you now know that metabolic damage simply just doesn’t exist, so is one less thing to worry about.

“Starvation Mode”

It is quite likely that you have come across the term “starvation mode” before.

If you are dieting and exercising, but you are not seeing progress, then a common self-diagnosis is that your body has gone into “starvation mode”.  In this post I am going to reassure you that this is simply not the case!  Read on!

Here’s a common scenario

You were trying to lose weight, so you decreased your calorie intake and stayed disciplined to your workout routine.  You were happy to see your bodyweight readings going down, and your physical appearance was beginning to look slimmer and leaner.  Then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, all progress appeared to stop!

You didn’t cheat on your diet.  You didn’t skip any workouts.

So, you do what most of us do when we have a problem.  You search online.  You talk to your friends.

And you soon come to the conclusion that you are not losing weight because your body has gone into “starvation mode”.

Starvation Mode

What is “starvation mode”?

“Starvation mode” is the term used to describe the theory stating that when your body feels it is being deprived of food, a survival mechanism is triggered where the body will stop you from losing body fat.  So, the theory concludes that if you have been dieting and then all of a sudden, your weight loss stalls, it is because your body “thinks” it is being starved.

Sound legit?  Keep reading!

Is “starvation mode” real?

The short answer here, is yes, but not to the extent you might think.  Yes, it is true that processes do take place in the body to prevent further weight loss, following a prolonged restricted calorie intake. Though it won’t “stop” you from losing fat.  And there are some external factors at play too when dieting.

– You naturally tend to feel more tired and move less – i.e. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) levels decrease (fidgeting, pacing, walking, etc).

– Also, it is true that your metabolism begins to slow down after consistent dieting (this is adaptive thermogenesis), meaning your body will burn less calories while at rest.

What may be classed as external factors, are:

– TEF (thermic effect of food) levels decrease, probably because you’ll be eating less food when dieting, so your body will burn less calories through the process of digestion.

– You will burn less calories during exercise, because your body adapts to become more efficient at carrying out exercise while saving energy.  Plus, it may very well be that you are not training as hard as you think you are, if energy levels are declining through dieting.

But no, your body does not enter a “mode” where it refuses to drop body fat!

So, when dieting, you will feel more tired and less prone to move and burn energy spontaneously and unnecessarily (e.g. fidgeting).  And your metabolism will begin to slow, but this will not stop you from continuing to lose body fat.

An extreme example here, but have you ever seen someone suffering from anorexia?  They still continue to drop body fat despite literally starving themselves, right?!

The Minnesota Experiment

The Minnesota Experiment is worth mentioning, just to emphasise my point.  So, let’s go back in history a little.

Towards the end of the Second World War in 1944, an experiment was carried out to see the best way to assist starving people to return to a healthy body weight.

36 soldiers participated in the experiment, in which for six months they were put through conditions meant to replicate a prisoner of war (POW) camp.  These men were made to do hours of manual labour each day.  Plus, they had to march for many miles, and were only given a diet of half the calories of their average daily calorie output. They were quite literally starved.

At the end of the six months, the men had lost on average 25% of their bodyweight.  Their metabolisms (basal metabolic rate) were estimated to be only 20% lower than they had been previously (not a great deal considering the circumstances!).

The men were put on a “recovery diet” over the twelve weeks afterwards, at which point their metabolisms were recalculated to be only 10% lower than normal.  Which isn’t such a great deal at all!

So, my point here?  If these guys were to be put under the most extreme circumstances of actual starvation, and yet:

  1. They were continuing to drop body fat
  2. Their metabolisms didn’t even slow down by a great deal, and their metabolisms recovered fairly quickly afterwards too…

…then it is safe to say that the average person following a conservative diet and exercise program has nothing to worry about!

Starvation Mode

Then why does it seem that fat loss stalls after prolonged dieting?

This question is actually very simple to answer.

  • Fat loss tends NOT to be linear, especially after dieting for a little while.  This means that after a few weeks into a calorie-controlled diet, you may very well not see a pattern of regular fat loss each week.  You might lose 1lb one week, 2lbs the next week, no change for the next two weeks, and then 1lb the week after.  It’s not always linear!  You may think that your body is not dropping fat anymore, when in fact it still is. The process just may have become slower.
  • You may be gaining muscle mass whilst dropping body fat.  This is especially possible for those new to resistance training.  If you lose a lb of fat but gain a lb of muscle, then your body weight will not have changed.
  • You may be retaining water.  This can happen depending on:
  1. hydration levels,
  2. the time of day you weigh yourself,
  3. your stress (cortisol) levels,
  4. your menstrual cycle if you are female,
  5. or even due to how much food you have still in your digestive system.
  • The most likely solution – you are eating too much.  Even when you have the best of intentions in sticking to your diet, adherence becomes harder and harder over time.  Portion sizes slowly begin to creep up, whether you know it or not. The best fix for this is to weigh and log all of your food and drink.

If you think that it is “starvation mode” that has brought your fat loss to a stop, then think again. I am almost 99% sure that “starvation mode” is not the reason!

Fat Loss & Muscle Gain: what I wish I knew back then! Part Two

In these short videos I again reflect back on my experience to give you some training and nutrition advice. And again, I bring you this information straight from my bedroom…why I have these sudden ideas to make videos like this when I’m in my bedroom, I really don’t know haha!

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to see Part One of this post HERE.

I’ve made so many mistakes over the years regarding my training and nutrition. There are so many things I used to believe to be true that aren’t. Thinking back now, some of the stuff I used to do was straight up stupid!

But the good news is that now I’m in a position, years later, to put my experience to good use, and help others out! Learn from my mistakes!


Stomach Vacuum and Abs Training

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of practising the stomach vacuum as part of my abs training. This is not just for vanity reasons, in that it helps keep your midsection tight and prevents any stomach distention (plus it looks cool!). But also for the overall health benefits of training the Transverse Abdominis for a strong core and healthy lower back.

I talk about this in a previous post here!

abs training

Normally I like to include stomach vacuums as part of my abs training. I mix vacuums in with each abs exercise I do, in that I hold a vacuum for a second or so after each rep. I try and do this daily if I have time.

These are some of the exercises I do.

Another Supplement That Works! My “A-Bolic4” Review

As you probably already know, I am generally not a big fan of nutritional supplements.  The reason being, is that most of the time I don’t notice any results that warrant spending money on them.

Apart from Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), I usually just stick to the few basics like whey protein, creatine, omega-3 fish oil, and multi-vitamins.

However, I am quite excited by the results of a new supplement that I have been experimenting with: A-Bolic4



The product I have been using is called A-Bolic4.  It is made by an American company called The Lab, and it is marketed as an “anabolic growth supplement”.  They claim that it “supports anabolic growth, increased metabolism, cellular integrity, and male sexual health”.

My Experience

Before I talk more about the supplement, and what’s in it, let me talk about my results with using A-Bolic4.

I have been supplementing with it for roughly three months now.  Throughout this time, I tried not to change any variables in my food intake or training.  I kept things pretty much as consistent as I had been before I started using the supplement.

My calorie intake was roughly at maintenance level throughout, although if anything, I was actually “looser” in controlling my food intake through having more “treats”.


The Results?

This is going to sound like a sales pitch or something, but I am only being truthful here and have no ties with the company!  I honestly noticed that my appearance was:

  • Leaner
  • Tighter
  • Muscles looked denser
  • More vascular with veins popping all the time everywhere.

And since nothing else in my training / diet changed during these 3 months, I can only credit these changes to A-Bolic4.


What’s in it?

I don’t want to bore you with too many details on the ingredients – if you want to read more on that, you can visit The Lab’s website (

 So just to give you a quick run down, A-Bolic4 contains:

  • Over 250mg of Ajuga Turkestanica
  • Over 167mg of EMIQ (Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin)
  • Over 98mg of Apigenin
  • Over 5mg of Bioperine

In short, the aforementioned ingredients, as backed by various studies listed on The Lab’s website, may act to promote muscle growth, promote fat loss, and promote increases in testosterone and decreases in cortisol.

*Note that I say “may act”, as in all honesty I don’t believe that we can 100% say for sure.  But from my personal experience I believe it!


How do I take it?

Each container has 60 capsules, and I was taking one capsule in the morning and one in the evening, daily.  I only weigh around 75kg though, so bigger guys may want to take two capsules morning and evening.

Where do I get it from?

I ordered mine directly from The Lab’s website:

It is a little pricey, although they do frequently have discount promotions running.  Also, unfortunately because it comes from the States, shipping to the UK and the additional tax were fairly pricey too.  But I believe this supplement “works” and is worth it.