For most of us, keeping fit and healthy usually involves that old demon weight loss and as we begin to understand more about health and nutrition, even the athletes and naturally slim amongst us are now paying attention to their food, weight and energy levels. We caught up with Mike Lindsay, owner of Club 300 to chat nutrition, weight and energy for training and weight loss. Mike is a level 3 Personal Trainer with a level 4 qualification in Applied Nutrition & Supplementation. This course is fully certified by the Association for Nutrition (AfN).
One in four British adults is obese, which means we have the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.
The new problem being flagged up is "obesogenic environments” which in simple terms means anywhere that encourages an inactive lifestyle or bad diet. For example, urban areas will favour taking the car over walking, taking the lift rather than climbing one flight of stairs and eating mars bar rather than eating an orange. At first, I felt it simplified the whole thing it a bit too much for me but the fact is, when you look closely, we are surrounded by these messages.
For Mike, and many like him, the key to this epidemic is education; here’s what he had to say.
“I spent many years being ridiculed for living a healthy lifestyle but for me, this kind of reaction spurred me on to be healthier, fitter and faster than others. It was motivating. However, I know for people starting out on a healthier lifestyle it might be enough to break them before they’ve even started.
Let me set the scene. I have been a full time personal trainer for over 4 years now and have been working within the Health & fitness industry for nearly 15 years. During this time I have lost count of the number of conversations and nutritional consultations that go like this….
Mike: How long have you been looking to make changes to your lifestyle for?
Client: I’ve been struggling with my weight all my adult life but over the past 5 years I’ve tried endless diets and fads spending an endless amount of money. I know it wasn’t probably the best thing to do but I was so desperate to lose weight quickly.
Research suggests that most people become obese gradually between the ages of 20-40 years. Over this time, many try quick fixes to lose weight, as they really want to return to the health and fitness they were always used to as a teenager.
Unfortunately, after years of trying what seems like the next best thing, people start to lose hope and feel that they just can’t achieve what they want. Maybe their body just isn’t designed like others. Not true!”
Mike says that we should all ask ourselves these simple questions:
How many years have you tried to lose weight?
How many fad diets or calorie-restricted diets have you followed? For example shakes, pills, low carb, high fat, high protein, juices, detox etc.
How much money have you spent over the years on dieting?
Have you had any success with these diets where you have never had to diet again? If so you can probably stop reading… for the other 99% read on!
By now you have probably realised that looking for a quick fix or a body fat reduction short cut simply wastes time, ensures you pay good money for fad products, gets you stressed out and more than likely lowers your self-esteem. Some people become scared, embarrassed or nervous to enter a gym environment and get to a point where they don’t want to share their body fat % with a professional that can help.
Here’s Mike’s Education – I can guarantee you know it but you have to pay attention!
“Weight loss/gain is pretty straightforward. What’s required is a calorie deficit over a period of time. ‘Energy In vs Energy Out’. So, if you consume 1500kcals in a 24-hour period and burn 1600kcals in the same period you will essentially lose weight, but not necessarily body fat.
This is important because as you lose weight you still might not be happy with how you look and feel and you get into a mindset that you need to continue cutting kcals to lose even more, in a bid to achieve the look you have in mind.
STOP! This is false and inevitably where it all goes wrong! Your body needs energy to perform, to concentrate and function, as it should.
Imagine you’re about to go on a road trip travelling across the country in your family hatchback. Some will check tyre pressure and oil/water levels to ensure the car is in a relative state of basic health and I would like to think everyone would check the amount of fuel in the tank. You know the car needs fuel to perform and you know the car needs maintained throughout its life to get the best performance and mileage out of the tank. How far will you get if you don’t fill the tank up for the journey ahead?
Now just so this is clear. Taking it back to the idea of continued reduced calories (fuel), if you were to leave on this journey and didn’t make it all the way to your destination you wouldn’t repeat the journey and think the answer would be to fill the car up with less fuel and repeat the same mistake over and over again… please tell me you wouldn’t!”
Side Bar: Mike sent us this and everyone in the small city office went.. “Ahhhhhhh. Yeah, right enough!”
So Mike, what is the answer? What is the body fat reduction shortcut?
“Well, to achieve body fat reduction and never have to diet again you have to accept there is a learning curve, a time where you have to educate yourself on food groups, macronutrient balance, lifestyle choices and current fitness ability so you can set yourself a realistic time framed journey which features small goals that will lead to your final target body weight and target fat %! Skimming is just looking for the quick fix again… stop it!”
Helpful But Not Essential Tools
A support group and group of positive people that surround you and encourage you to succeed with your goals and objectives.
What is essential?
Importantly you need to know if it is body fat % , muscle weight or total body water that has changed and you can do this with these new fancy-schmancy scales which you can buy for home now or that you will find in most gyms and health suites.
It feels like a bit of a big ask to us at first, but Mike assures us that this approach doesn’t take long to master and will eliminate a lifetime cycle of fad diets. When you do get your head round them, you will be free to maintain - at no cost! - a lean and healthy body all by yourself.
“It does take time to educate yourself and everyone learns at different speeds and begins with differing fitness levels. Some people have less time and bigger stressors in life than others but spending time learning how you can become healthier shouldn’t be a chore. Think of it as a great opportunity for self-reflection and a chance to bring back that person you once were – full of energy and drive. You just need to dedicate some time to yourself.”
The important change required is a lifestyle change for long-term success. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a meal out or enjoy a glass of wine but it does mean you learn how to create a good balance across your life’s choices. The healthy balanced lifestyle that we keep hearing about isn’t really a huge secret after all; it just takes a bit of time, a willingness to learn and the motivation to go out and put in into practice.
Of course, this is where it comes back to you. Ultimately, you have to take control and responsibility for your own choices – it is the choices you make that will determine your results. But remember this one easy equation:
Nutritional Education + Activity + Lifestyle Adaptation = Long Term Success to Fat Loss
Mike Lindsay at Club 300
*SOURCE - NHS Website