Monday 22 April 2013

What i would do for a 10 week shape up competition

If you've not seen my other blog post on my 10 week summer shape up competition here it is 10 Week shape up competition details

Since i've posted this up i've had emails and facebook messages asking for tips on what the best approach would be, so here's a little guide on the approach i would take depending on your start point, note this goes for men and women too. This is not an all encompassing approach, it is merely to give you a rough idea of what you should be doing and what your approach to your diet and training should look like.

You'll likely fall in to 1 of 3 categories which will require a slightly different diet approach:

Group 1 - overweight, no abs, fair to say you could be classed as untrained

Diet wise start with eliminating the carbs completely, have a look in to ketogenic diets. This is the quickest way to drop excess weight and fat. Training wise it's not optimal for performance, however you wont be training anywhere near optimal just yet anyway.

Once the outline of your abs are showing for me or your stomach is looking flat for women it is time to add in carbs, i would initially opt for doing so in the post workout window only and in the form of complex carbohydrates, my preferred choice would be sweet potato due to it's higher nutrient value compared to normal white potato, i also think it tastes better! Another option would be to add in some porridge oats to your pwo shake. Once you reach this point your training will be intense too and so focussing on increasing performance should be a training consideration, you'll be wanting to lift heavier, have shorter rest periods, train with more intensity, maybe even train more often, for that you need to employ some smart nutrition techniques so timed carb intakes to fuel and recover the intense training will be needed. You'll still need a high protein and fat diet too and dont fall in to the trap of massacring calories to lose weight, your body is crying out for nutrients due to the increased training load, dont starve it of what it needs. There's a list of my preferred foods at the end of this article.

As a guide you should base your macro breakdown around the following figures

CHO <30g
Fat 1g/kg bodyweight
Protein 2.5-3g/kg bodyweight

Group 2 - skinny fat or slim and wobbly

You may have dabbled with the gym at times or you may go for the odd run to 'keep fit' overall you're not fat but you also dont have much muscle definition either, you're not out of shape but you're not in shape either. Women may have a slight paunch and men may have too but with twiglet arms, ok so you get the picture...

Diet wise you need to first clean up your diet, most people i see like this do not eat anywhere near a varied enough of a diet, it usually consists of grazing on poor quality nutrition and in some cases not eating enough at all. You're lucky that you are actually in a good position to make a huge difference to your body with only relativley small changes needed you'll be able to notice that you will add muscle and burn fat (the holy grail!) at the same time. Eat plenty of protein to recover from your training sessions and stimulate growth (ladies this does not mean you will look like Arnie!) have a good base of healthy fats and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables including root (that's root, not route) veg. Fruit wise opt for berries/forest fruits with apples and bananas, the latter is good when it's turning for around training for either an energy kick or replenishing energy stores after training.

Your main concern when you eat should be "where's the protein and is this a clean meal" coming from a porrly structured and low nutritional value diet if you hit these goals and train hard you will make a significant change to your physique.

As a guide you should base your macro breakdown around the following figures

CHO: 0.8-1.2g/kg/bodyweight
Fat: 1g/kg bpdyweight
Protein: 2-2.5g/kg/bodyweight

Group 3 - need some direction crowd

You go to the gym but never seem to really progress, you do look like you train but you're nowhere near where you could be and while watching what you eat you dont get great results unless you're on an extreme diet and you dont really know too much about nutrition anyway. Sounds familiar, then this should be your approach:

Are you eating enough of the good stuff? Lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs with plenty of vegetables too?

The majority of people i come across like this actually need more of an overhaul of their diet than they think, the way you look is more down to the amount you train, if you stopped training it wouldnt take long before you realised how poor your diet was. It could be worse so lets not dwell on the negatives.

As you're already training and gym fit you can really crank up your training and take yourself out of your comfort zone, if you dont have a training log, start one and you'll have it written down of what you need to do to progress, most people in this catagory pick the same weights for the same reps each week, progressive overload is key!

With this increased training output you need to concentrate on fuel and recover with your nutrition, therefore i would opt for a carb cycling approach with carbs timed around training (before and after). The rest of your meals need to be rich in vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. Keep a log of your food intake too. For more info on carb cycling then have a look on google, there's plenty of reading to be done.
As a guide you should base your macro breakdown around the following figures

Protein: 2-2.5g/kg/bodyweight
Fat: 1g/kg bodyweight
low day: <30g per day
Moderate day: 0.5g/kg bodyweight
high day: 1.5g/kg bodyweight

Here is a basic list of 'good foods' which should make up the majority of your diet:

Skimmed Milk
Fibre Rich Veg (broccoli, greent beans etc)
Wholegrain Bread
Basmati/Long Grain Rice
Whole-wheat Pasta
Wholemeal Pitas
New Boiled Potatoes
Natural bean soups 
Split beans
Black beans

Lean Red Meat
Cottage Cheese
Whey Protein shakes
Greek Yoghurt
Egg Whites
Bacon back


Olive Oil
Flax Seeds
Flax Oil
Nut Butters
Fatty Fish
Nut Oils
Columbus Eggs
Macadamia nuts 

In part 2 i'll look at the type of training you should be doing to maximise results, part 3 will cover the supplements i would recommend.

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