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Food & Diet

  • Protein consumption, calorie intake and weight loss

    We have discussed in the past the effect of high carbohydrate intake on weight gain. Although high carbohydrate intake is considered as one of the main culprits for promoting weight gain and having a low-carb diet is one of the most effective ways for weight loss, it is unhealthy and unsustainable to live on a low-carb diet for a prolonged period of time. Rather than deliberately trying to avoid eating carbohydrates, incorporating extra protein into your diet can really help to reduce appetite and calorie intake, hence to achieve a similar outcome as having a low carbohydrate diet. Losing weight from eating more rather than eating less certainly makes dieting a lot simpler and much more entertaining. So what can incorporating extra protein into your diet actually do?

    Increasing protein intake can increase diet-induced thermogenesis by up to 2 fold compared to having a high carbohydrate diet, which can in turn increase energy expenditure and satiety (feeling full and satisfied). A high protein diet can create a negative fat-balance and a positive protein balance, and can increase fat oxidation, at least in the short term (Westerterp-Plantenga 2008, Regulatory Peptides). A high protein diet that makes up 30% of daily energy intake can significantly reduce appetite and hence reduces daily calorie intake by around 441kcal per day and decreases fat mass by 3.7kg over a 12-week period compared to that of people on a weight maintaining diet with 15% of the daily energy intake from protein (Weigle et al 2005, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

    Eating less carbohydrate will help to maintain body weight and assists weight loss. However, it is unhealthy to have no carb and on top of that, it's difficult to know the exact carbohydrate content of the food we eat, which makes carbohydrate reduction from our diet a real challenge. Eating more protein can reduce one's appetite for other food, increases energy expenditure and subsequently promotes weight loss. It's much easier to eat more than to eat less. Make protein at least 25 - 30% of your daily energy intake and the extra weight around your belly will go.

  • Are Restrictive Diets Stopping You From Losing Body Fat?

    The 3 Truths about Dieting & Losing Fat in the Long Term

    The first word many people think about when they decide to start or restart a journey to a lighter, slimmer, healthier version of themselves is DIET.

    That's right, the dreaded 'D' word.

    With the fast pace of society today where people want results FAST, it's no surprise that there are almost as many different 'diets' out there as there are Kilojoules in a McDonald's Big Mac Meal.

    However, the longevity of the results experienced when utilising these fat-loss tools, does make me question if they're really worth it. Are the results most people see actually hurting your ability to lose stubborn fat more than helping it?

    Let's take a look at a very common diet that a lot of people are trying these days: The low/no carb diet.

    I can hear some cries through my computer screen from some of you after just reading those words. Yep, some people actually restrict themselves from eating pasta, rice, bread, potato!

    Crazy or not, this particular diet has helped many people lose weight in the short term. That said, carbs are often not the real problem here.

    To make things clearer and to get to the bottom of what's really going on when you take on a restrictive diet like the low carb diet, here are the 3 truths about dieting & losing fat in the long term:

    1. Most weight-loss experienced on a low carb (or other restrictive diet) is a result of eating less Calories than you would if you ate normally.

    This is probably the most important take away from this article and because of that you need to look up and read that again before continuing.

    Eating less total energy than you're burning is the most important factor when it comes to losing weight. Even more so than exercise! [2]

    That's often what begins to happen (in a big way for some people) when they cut out carbs. For a lot of people, carbohydrates make up a massive portion of their total food throughout the day. That's why it's only logical that people start to miraculously lose weight when carbs are dropped low.

    1. Restrictive diets are often just a short-term fix to a long-term problem

    We all want to look sexy yesterday. But we all want to look sexy tomorrow and next week and next year too right? This is exactly the reason that any changes to our diet or training routines in an effort to achieve the body of our dreams should be sustainable in the long term.

    You may well lose some weight but cutting out carbs from your diet for a month or two. However, what do you think is going to happen when you add them back into your diet after depriving yourself from them? What I've seen happen in the past is often one of two likely scenarios:

    • Your weight will return back to a similar point it was at before you started since your total calorie intake is back to where it was.


    • You will in fact gain more weight than you lost whilst doing the diet because you vacuumed up a whole packet of Tim Tams, 7 subway cookies and a whole loaf of bread because you craved carbs so bad.

    … carbs are addictive, I get it.

    Whenever you decide to take on a new diet, always consider the longer term as well as the short-term desire to look sexy in that new bikini when the weather is hotter next month.

    1. Excessive restrictive dieting can make it easier to put fat back on

    One of the most commonly overlooked dangers of yo-yo dieting with methods like the low carb diet are that if calories are reduced too much too quickly, this can hurt your metabolism [1]. For example, if you're eating approximately 1600 Calories per day but you decide to take on a new diet where you're eating 1000 Calories, then this could result in problems down the road.

    That essentially means that if done too frequently, restrictive diets can make it easier to put fat back on after losing it.

    The main reason this occurs is because when we eat less food, our metabolism slows down a bit but when we eat slightly more food, it speeds up. This is all in an attempt to keep our body at a certain weight where it feels 'comfortable'. This comfortable point can also be referred to as the 'body fat set point'.

    After coming off a period of lower total calories like many people do when they try a low carb diet, their metabolism has slowed down a bit to try and avoid moving from the set point too quickly. Once, they've finished their diet and switch back to higher calories, many people will overindulge a bit.

    Since, it takes some time for your metabolism to readjust back to normal levels, excess calories won't be burned as quickly and thus you may even end up heavier than when you started your diet.

    At the end of the day, restrictive diets are just one method to help people improve their eating habits and start to fuel their body with the right things it needs. This article isn't saying that restrictive diets can't help people to drop body fat and achieve the body of their dreams. It's more of a warning to people thinking that all they have to do is follow the diet and their problems are solved.

    As the great Nutrition PHD Layne Norton once said: 'For every gime, there's a gotcha'.

    The best nutrition or training plan for YOU, is and always will be the one that YOU can stick to.

    If the biggest problem when it comes to burning stubborn fat for you is not knowing where to start, how much food you should be eating or even the best kinds of foods for your goals, then you may want a little more help.

    The Alpha Fitness team are always happy and willing to help with whatever it is that's holding you back from having that amazing, head-turning bikini body you want, this summer.

    Drop us a message and let's get started ASAP.

    That's it for now from Jake and the Alpha Fitness team,

    Happy toning!

    Jake is passionate about helping women reach their full potential by rapidly transforming their bodies through holistic methods. To find out more, visit www.alphafitness.com.au.



    1. Stiegler P, Cunliffe A: The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss. Sports Med. 2006, 36: 239-262. 10.2165/00007256-200636030-00005.
    2. Kerksick, Chad et al. "Effects Of A Popular Exercise And Weight Loss Program On Weight Loss, Body Composition, Energy Expenditure And Health In Obese Women". Nutrition & Metabolism1 (2009): 23. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  • Is Skipping Breakfast Destroying Your Ability To Burn Body Fat?

    3 Easy hacks to your morning routine so you can burn body fat throughout the day

    Busy busy busy.

    These days when someone asks you how you're going, one of the most common replies I hear goes along the lines of 'Oh, I'm really busy at the moment!'

    It seems that in the grand time that we live in, more and more people appear to have less and less time than we did 20 or so years ago.

    A study completed by Kraft found that despite almost 50% of Australians agreeing that breakfast is in fact 'the most important meal of the day', over 50% of Australians surveyed admitted to regularly skipping breakfast.

    That's a whole lot of uneaten Weetbix…

    Although sure, you HAVE to race of to work or the gym or Uni or all of the above, is that coffee hit enough to get you through until lunch time?

    Is that busy schedule costing you the body and health of your dreams?

    Is skipping breakfast destroying your ability to burn body fat?

    For you, it could be.

    Let's explore how skipping breakfast can affect you and how you can still burn fat, even if you're skipping breakfast:

    1. Skipping meals (especially breakfast) can lead you to overeat in other meals.

    This is probably the most likely cause of extra weight gain when it comes to skipping breakfast. If we miss a meal or go for an extended period of time without eating, our body can go into a sort of starvation mode.

    This starvation/survival mode can to increased hunger and a higher likelihood of storing extra calories as body fat.

    Often, this will only really occur if your body isn't used to going extended periods of time without food or if the time between meals is especially long.

    To overcome this increase in hunger, you could try:

    • Planning your meals ahead of time so you avoid overeating
    • Count your calories so you keep the total amount of energy you consume under what you burn
    • Eat more nutrient dense foods rather than sugary, calorie packed ones
    1. Skipping breakfast may leave you more tired throughout the morning

    If you're tired, you're going to be less productive. That's a simple fact.

    If you're tired for your morning session in the gym, you'll likely underperform and you won't get the full benefits from your training.

    We don't want subpar results thought right?

    Here's a couple of easy ways you can overcome morning tiredness without breakfast:

    • Have some caffeine – either a coffee or a natural pre-workout will work best
    • Try a short, cold shower to awaken the senses
    • Get more sleep – we're all practically constantly sleep deprived anyway
    1. Skipping breakfast can lead to poorer food choices

    When we're hungrier we make worse food choices. Our body is a cruel genius and always knows how to get that quick hit of energy when your blood sugar is running low.

    Yep, lookin' at you chocolate bar…

    After your morning fast, it's important that the next couple of meals are rich in protein and Low GI (slow releasing) carbs. Especially if you've done a tough weights session that morning.

    Perhaps skipping breakfast wasn't the real weight gaining demon that you thought it was?

    If you're still eating the right amount of total food throughout the day, it really doesn't matter whether that food is split up into 5 meals or 1 meal.

    Keep your total calories on track and you're good to go when it comes to dropping body fat, breakfast or no breakfast.

    If the biggest problem when it comes to burning stubborn fat for you is not knowing where to start, how much food you should be eating or even the best kinds of foods for your goals, then you may want a little more help.

    The Alpha Fitness team are always happy and willing to help with whatever it is that's holding you back from having that amazing, head-turning bikini body you want, this summer.

    Drop us a message and let's get started ASAP.

    That's it for now from Jake and the Alpha Fitness team,

    Happy toning!

    Jake is passionate about helping women reach their full potential by rapidly transforming their bodies through holistic methods. To find out more, visit www.alphafitness.com.au.

  • 4 Super Foods You Need to Eat More Of to Burn Fat Fast

    You're working your butt off in the gym. Putting in the hard work, day in day out. You're getting fitter but the stubborn fat simply won't go away… or at least not as quickly as you'd hoped.

    This is a problem that plagues far too many women daily.

    If your diet doesn't work with your training, you too could fall victim to this ever-present problem.

    However, when you find that sweet balance between nailing your training and fuelling your body with the right nutrients and balance of foods, the result is pure magic! Or science. Or maybe a cool mixture of both?

    It's one thing to eat good foods, but if you're like me, you don't just want good - you want great! Today, I say great is still not good enough. Today, we're talking SUPER foods! Super foods may just be that missing link between 'okay' results and SUPER results, especially when it comes to your fat-loss.

    That's why I've put together a short-list of the 4 Super Foods that you NEED to be eating more of, if you're looking to super charge your fat-loss.

    1. Black beans

    A dark horse on the list (pun intended), black beans are a good source of protein for vegetarians and are LOADED with fibre and antioxidants. In fact, just one cup of the stuff contains about half of your daily recommended intake for fibre. Talk about a happy tummy!

    Great for keeping you fuller for longer, try adding these little guys into a salad or a Mexican seasoned, lean mince mixture and enjoy their awesome benefits.

    1. Eggs

    Eggs are possibly one of the most underrated and under consumed fat-burning foods there are. Since they're made up of mostly protein, bit of healthy cholesterol, and a whole stack of vitamins and trace minerals, they are a super way to start the day.

    The complete protein in the eggs great for curbing your appetite throughout the day and is important to help your muscles grow and recover from tough workouts.

    1. Baby Spinach

    Yep, Popeye was onto something with this one. Loaded with Vitamins A, K, D, and E and bunch of trace minerals, these round green leaves have just what you need to keep your body functioning how it's supposed to.

    Think about it this way, you wouldn't fuel a Ferrari with low grade petrol and expect it to perform at its best, so why would you expect any different from your body?

    Baby spinach has been touted as the most nutrient dense food per calorie, so throw some into your meals ASAP!

    1. Blueberries

    Blueberries are a living example of the phrase 'small is powerful!' A 1-cup serving contains just 80 calories, and helps to keep those hunger pains at bay as it packs 4 grams of fibre. These juicy, blue bombshells are loaded with vitamins and are a great way to naturally sweeten things like yoghurt or oats without breaking the calorie bank, as you might do if you were to use honey or sugar instead.

    Similar berries like raspberries and blackberries are also a fantastic substitute with similar properties, so why not throw them all in and make a berry yummy party? … Hehe

    As you can see, getting your body into the fat-burning zone is about keeping it running like a well-oiled machine. If you aren't filling your nutrition with the vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and other important nutrients to keep your body functioning at optimal levels, you shouldn't expect optimal results.

    When it comes to fat-burning, we need to keep our protein up, as it burns more calories per gram than carbs or fats and allows us to recover in the gym to keep dominating our workouts. Be sure to get in enough carbohydrates and fats too as these are important to use as fuel in workouts and keep the body running smoothly.

    That's it for now from the Alpha Fitness team,

    Happy toning!

    Jake is passionate about helping women reach their full potential by rapidly transforming their bodies through holistic methods. To find out more, visit www.alphafitness.com.au.

  • How to Snack For Fat Loss Without Starving Yourself

    5 Awesome Snack Ideas That Won't Break the Calorie Bank

    You've prepped your healthy breakfast. Your calorie tracked lunch is packed in its cosy cooler bag and ready to take to work. The ingredients for your equally nutritious and delicious dinner have been bought and you know exactly how to make it.

    Your diet is on point right!?

    Well… it would be. If not for those pesky hunger pains between meals. If not for that delicious vending machine chocolate bar that's taunting you, laughing at you from across the office. If not for that darn energy crash, just as you're leaving work that 'forced' you to swing by the local hot chip shop on the corner.

    If this scenario sounds all too familiar, just know that you certainly aren't alone! Time and time again I see my clients are able to properly prepare and track their main meals but let themselves down when it comes to snacking.

    When we're talking about weight-loss, getting our diet right is imperative to our success. Unfortunately, getting your diet 60% or 70% right just won't cut it and if you find yourself too being let down by snacking, then you'll most likely be stuck in a situation where the weight simply won't budge.

    However, just as many of girls starting my next 28 Day Body Transformation Challenge now know, there is another way.

    'Snacking' doesn't have to be a naughty or taboo term. It can in fact be an effective method of keeping you satisfied with your diet, energised for your training and helping you avoid any trigger foods you may have.

    When done right, it can be that missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to your nutrition.

    To help you on your way towards smarter snacking, here are 5 awesome snacks that won't break the calorie bank:

    1. Protein shakes

    An absolute wonder snack for those of us who aren't complete carnivores or just struggle to get in enough protein in general. Fat-loss, muscle building, satiety – you name it protein helps with it.

    I hear protein shakes even occasionally help little old ladies cross the street… well maybe that last one was made up.

    These days protein shakes come in all sorts of varieties, so there's bound to be one to fit your specific needs.

    Many good quality protein shakes will weigh in at around 100 calories and with the magic of shaker cups, they make for a simple, portable snack you can take with you wherever so your heart desires.

    1. Egg white omelettes

    Want to feel like an absolute master chef at breakfast time without the hours spent studying cook books?

    Then egg white omelettes may just be the food for you. Depending on how many calories you're after, egg white omelettes can be a fabulous protein hit that also gives you a solid hit of vitamins and minerals to kick off your day.

    Simply separate the egg whites from their yolky cousins and mix in a colourful array of vegetables (spinach, onion, capsicum and mushrooms are my personal favourite).

    Often these fancy creations will finish up at 150 calories or less.

    1. Stuffed veggies

    These guys can either go horribly wrong or horribly right when it comes to total calories. However, they are a great way to make vegetables fun and keep the calories down when done right.

    Here's a short list of vegetables that are great for stuffing/filling with other goodies:

    • Capsicums
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Egg plant
    • Mushrooms

    An easy way to fill these veggies is with some quinoa, seasoning, other chopped up veggies and even so lower calorie, higher protein cheese.


    1. Zoodles

    God bless the guy or gal who invented the zoodle (zucchini noodle).

    That's right, noodles just became a whole lot healthier and lower calorie. All a zoodle is, is a zucchini grated in such a way that it takes the shape of a noodle/ strand of pasta. Simply fry or boil and add whatever low calorie sauce and meat protein you like and you've got yourself a delicious snack option.

    Try it next time you want to use pasta. Your waistline will thank me.

    1. Jelly

    Yep, your favourite dessert from when you were 5 is making a big comeback in the world of weight-loss. By now you may be thinking something along the lines of 'how could such a high sugar food that tastes so damn good be a low calorie snack?

    Simple. Many companies are now making jelly that contains under 10 calories per serve! Aeroplane Jelly Lite for example comes in many delicious flavours and contains just 7 calories.

    Finally, a dessert that will likely burn more calories than it contains whilst eating it.

    When it comes to melting stubborn fat, eating slightly fewer calories than you burn is of vital importance.

    If you're unsure how to work out how much food you should be eating or even just unsure about nutrition in general than I highly recommend doing some research or seeking some professional assistance.

    That's it for now from Jake and the Alpha Fitness team,

    Happy toning!

    Jake is passionate about helping women reach their full potential by rapidly transforming their bodies through holistic methods. To find out more, visit www.alphafitness.com.au.

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