When I'm giving nutrition advice, my personal training clients in London often ask me what I eat, and I'm pleased to say I really do practice what I preach. As you probably know by now, if you've been following Fitness4London.com, optimum nutrition is just as important as exercise, if not more so.
You've probably heard the old saying: "you can't out-train a bad diet." So it's only fair that I let you know what I eat myself. I don't eat exactly the same things week in, week out. That would be boring, and healthy eating shouldn't be boring. For instance, I don't eat nearly as much bread as I used to, but once a week I'll eat wholemeal pittas. I vary what I eat, and include as wide a range of healthy foods as possible. Here's one of my day's eating from earlier this week:
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I know several personal trainers in London each with different goals, and we discuss each others' eating habits. Those looking to pack on muscle eat larger quantities of protein and complex carbohydrates, and those whose sport (such as tennis or badminton) requires them to stay really lean and light on their feet go for lower daily calorie intake. If you check out the interviews page on this site you'll see a couple of interviews with bodybuilding personal trainers in London, and you'll see what a huge volume of food they eat.
Before I come on to my daily eating habits, here's a brief summary of what I go for when I eat out:
Fish, lean steak, vegetables, new potatoes.
AS SOON AS I WAKE UP
1/2 litre water (filtered tap water is just as good as bottled water)
Porridge oats (not the sweetened versions, just the plain packets of Tesco scottish oats) eaten cold and uncooked in a bowl of semi-skimmed milk, with an orange chopped in (for the vitamin C). Never have more than 1 portion of fruit at one sitting, or you'll overload your liver with fructose.
Two soft poached eggs on rye bread, with a dash of tabasco sauce to spice it up.
I used to have wholemeal toast too, but I've cut down a lot on bread in the last year or so. I've not cut it out altogether, because I like it too much, and it's so convenient when time is short to prepare food. Healthy options include rye bread and millet bread (read my blog to see why it pays to cut down on bread)
Small handful of almonds (raw and unsalted), one banana, two squares of plain dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids, my favourite), and a squeeze of lime juice on the mashed banana (limes are a great source of vitamin C). For personal trainers on the go this makes a great morning snack between clients.
Home made chicken curry with diced lean skinless chicken breast (I'm using Halal chicken from the local butcher at the moment, really fresh, and cheaper than most supermarkets), mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, on a bed of bulgar wheat. (instead of fattening jars of curry sauces, use some of the healthiest spices either whole or in powder form: chilli powder, ground peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cloves, turmeric powder, paprika, garlic granules). I vary the vegetables to include chopped up broccoli, carrots, courgettes, and egg plant (aubergine).
'Real Mass' Gaspari Nutrition protein/carb shake after gym workout.
2 raw carrots, 2 sticks raw celery, handful of blueberries.
(I eat less fruit than I used to, just one or two portions a day rather than 3 or 4. This is because I've been researching the fattening effects of too much fruit. More and more evidence is showing that too much fructose, that's fruit sugar, converts to fat in the liver, and is stored as body fat)
Salmon fillet, sweet potatoes, courgettes, mushrooms in garlic
(I sip water throughout the day, between meals, around 2 litres in total, but this quantity varies according to the weather, and how much gym/sport I've done that day)
How many personal trainers in London practise what they preach? One of my personal training clients in Highgate had a previous personal trainer who used to arrive with a bag of doughnuts and eat them while he trained her. Needless to say, he didn't last long (I don't mean he died, I mean he didn't last long as her trainer!). I sometimes see personal trainers outside their gyms eating crisps, chocolate, and smoking cigarettes. Not a good advert for the industry!
Be sure to consume some lean protein every 3 - 4 hours. Protein enables your body to grow and repair muscle tissue. Protein from food is also used by the body to manufacture a vast range of hormones and enzymes needed for your body to function healthily. For low fat protein foods click here. Remember too that it's good to include some protein foods that are higher in fat, but not all the time. The right fats are very nutritious and a vital part of your diet. I recommend salmon, sirloin steak, lamb, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.