Your Health Questions answered- a personal trainer perspective11.06.20
Over the past 15 years, I have been asked almost all of the health questions there are about training and nutrition.
In order to add the same value as I have added to countless clients over the years, I wanted to share some of the most common health questions I’ve been asked. I’m sure you’ll have wondered about some of these fitness questions yourself.
In the world of health, it is difficult to find answers you can trust. There are myths that just won’t die, and sensationalist claims in the world of health. Yet, the most effective solutions and answers to all of these are often the simplest.
Through the internet and social media, we are becoming more and more aware of health in all of its forms. Not only that, but we are also beginning to acknowledge the benefits of leading a more healthful lifestyle. We are actively seeking out what we believe are the right methods of eating and training for us, whether that’s choosing a nutritional meal plan or finding exercise that we actually enjoy doing.
However, with increased awareness comes increased confusion, especially when it comes to health.
This is the first blog of a series where I look to answer those burning health questions you have about health and how you can maximise it.
Is meal prep suitable for weight loss on a budget?
In most cases, absolutely.
Although we acknowledge that meal prep holds a not insignificant financial investment, we believe that when worked out, meal prep can be fantastic value for money. It could, in fact, help you lose weight without losing the pounds in your pocket.
I would guess that the majority of you forget everything that you purchase when it comes to food and drink. Those meals out, sneaky trips to the local shop for a snack. The social drinks one or two nights a week. That doesn’t even include your usual daily meals!
The cost of ‘buying as you go’ can be significantly higher than a more considered and structured approach.
Here’s how to work out if meal prep can work for your budget. Remember, by planning and prepping your own meals you invest more than just money. You’re also spending time and emotional investment. If you’re happy with this time commitment, great. If not, a meal prep service is a good solution
- Step 1: Calculate what you spend at the supermarket, takeaway food and any other ‘midweek’ shops per week and per calendar month.
- Step 2: Calculate the cost of travel to and from the supermarket. If you travel to your chosen food outlet by car or public transport. Although this cost may be minimal, those small journeys add up to more than the significant extra cost. Not to mention the cost to the environment over the long term!
- Step 3: Calculate the cost of any extra calories that you may be removing throughout your weight loss journey. This could be a weekly takeaway or a cheeky bottle of wine two nights a week.
- Step 4: Compare this to the cost of your chosen meal prep service. If the total matches, or is cheaper than your existing nutrition regime, then a meal prep service is a winner.
1. Should I eat meals in order?
My favourite answer when it comes to almost every health question is: It depends. Food and its timing are infinitely nuanced and unique to you. Some like carbohydrates in the morning, some in the evening. Some eat dessert first, some don’t!
Don’t sweat the meal timing.
Although there may be a small benefit to say, eating a protein and fat-rich breakfast over a breakfast heavy in carbs. And eating carbs in the evening may improve your sleep. The real benefit lies in the consistency of calorie intake.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, creating a calorie deficit is the key to weight loss. Where you choose to eat those are entirely up to what you prefer.
2. Is protein just for people that lift weights?
Protein is absolutely essential when it comes to growth and repair. And by growth and repair I don’t just mean the muscles you train in the gym. Every single cell in your body requires some kind of protein to work as it should.
Remember. Our bodies are in an endless state of break down and rebuild. From blood cells to muscle fibres, nerves to the skin, your organs to your brain. In order to facilitate this process, protein plays more than its fair part.
Anyone who lifts weights and aspires for a better body needs an adequate protein intake to improve muscle tone. Why? The act of lifting weights puts a considerable amount of tension through each individual muscle fibre. This consistent tension then causes microdamage (the tearing of muscle fibres). Protein’s role is to repair and increase the overall area of each fibre, through an increase in what is called MPS (muscle protein synthesis).
So, while the answer to this health question is no, protein intake is not exclusive to people who train, everyone will require their own specific protein intake depending on their individual activity and stresses.
3. Should I eat breakfast?
It really depends on a few factors, all of which will have cost and value attached to them.
- EMOTIONAL STATE. If you are someone that works better when eating later in the morning, then stick with it. However, if you are more likely to choose more processed, sugary foods due to the lack of morning sustenance, then breakfast is for you.
- DAILY CALORIE GOAL. Depending on factors such as your training goal (fat loss, maintenance or muscle building), current weight, body fat levels and activity, you should have a consistent daily calorie intake. Now, for those who require a larger daily calorie intake may need to add breakfast just to make sure to eat enough food. For those who may be on a more calorie-controlled nutrition plan, pushing the first meal of the day slightly later in the morning may minimise any evening hunger.
- YOUR PREFERENCE. Everyone is different. Some people like to eat a lot of calories in the morning, some like to eat more in the evening. Your preference is deeply connected to your consistency which is a vital component to living healthily. How often you undertake habits will dictate the life you wish to lead. So, if eating straight out of bed keeps you on track for a healthy day, then you should stick with that. Equally, if extending your fast into the late morning/lunchtime is more your thing and will bring about positive long-term habits then again, go with it!
There is an added layer of nuance to the breakfast debate and deserves an article of its own. But for now, understanding these factors will lay the foundation for starting the day the right way for you!
Wrapping it up
You will notice that almost all of the answers I gave to these health questions come with a proviso: Your personal situation. You see, health in all its forms depends entirely on your day. Each day is unique and full of challenges that we often cannot control. Yet, implementing the basics can offset most of these challenges and leave you feeling, and looking, great.
I hope I’ve answered some of your health questions, but remember; consistency is key to health. Nail the basics and reap the health rewards.