The team over at Men’s Fitness have just launched Total Body Transformation – a service that delivers a training regime and eating plan tailored to your specific goals, be it shedding flab from your waistline, getting a six-pack or building big arms. It’s a plan that requires commitment in terms of time, energy and, yes, money (£100 to be exact – cheaper than three sessions with a personal trainer).
But even if you’re not ready to go all in, there are plenty of tips we can all use. We distracted MF with a classic ruse (look, a bear!) and scribbled down these nutritional tidbits from their computer screen.
1. Don’t skip meals, they say, and we gratefully hear. We all need energy, whether that’s to fuel workouts or just get through the day, and sticking with breakfast, lunch and dinner will keep insulin levels steady, making it less likely that you’ll get hungry and make bad food decisions.
2. Eat free-range if possible, because when compared to their cage-reared brethren, free-range meat is often so nutritionally dissimilar that it’s like eating entirely different food. Grass-fed beef, for instance, has much higher levels of CLA and omega 3s, both of which can help you build a strong, lean body.
3. Drink water, which everyone knows but most forget. The MF guys recommend a large glass of water when you wake up – ideally before you put on the kettle for your morning tea or coffee (it’s something to do while you wait for the kettle to boil). It’ll help you wake up and start the day feeling energised.
4. Treat cooking as part of your fitness regime. It’s even a good idea to skip a gym session to make time to prep and cook a ton of food (although it’s a better idea to do all the gym sessions and batch-cook). Look at it this way: you’ve got maybe four chances to work in the gym every week, but you’ll eat at least 21 meals.
5. If you’re eating out with friends, put the fork down when in a conversation. It’ll discourage overeating and give your body time to register when you start to get full.
6. Be nice when saying no, because family and friends can get a bit weird if you turn down something they’re offering. Try “Thanks, but I don’t eat X” – it implies a choice, whereas “I can’t” suggests you’re denying yourself.
7. Go slow on the smoothies, since it’s easy to overindulge on sweet liquid calories. As well as being a common source of hidden sugar, smoothies have little effect on fullness levels – so you could be hungry again 30 minutes later.
8. Switch to drinking green tea and black coffee. Studies suggest that the former has some fat-burning properties, while the latter might have some antioxidant effects that help protect your cells from the rigours of exercise.
There’s plenty more advice where that came from. To see if the plan is right for you, have a nose around the Total Body Transformation website and follow some of the MF writers through the 80-day plan on social media with the hashtag #MFTBT.
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Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.