Tuesday, July 7, 2020

5 reasons why I got fat during lockdown

Own up

Ok-ok, hands up who put on a bit of weight during the circuit breaker/lockdown???  I have to admit, I'm guilty.  At the start I was all keen and keeping on top my diet and exercise, but then after two weeks I started to slip.  I thought I'd be ok, as we'd be back to 'normal' and back in the gym, into the old routine again within a couple of weeks.  Oh dear...

There's no doubt about it, I ate too much and moved a lot less and so increased my body fat.   But when I look into it a bit more and break it down, I can see exactly what my mistakes were.


As they say 'd Nile is not just a river in Egypt'.  Yep, I thought I be ok tucking into the additional snacks, because 'I'm already lean' and 'I'm still training'.  But in reality, I was eating a lot more than I would do normally and without the same intense level of energy output (daily activity and exercise).  

 I was eating things like ice cream in the evenings during the week, eating more fruit, cups often, alcohol at the weekends and bigger breakfasts than normal.

I was training outdoors in the heat and humidity, which slowed down performance. Yes I was sweating and exhausted but it wasn't because of the intensity, if anything it was probably less because it was so bloody hot.


A common trap I fell into was 'eyeballing calories'.  I'd be like there's only 'X' amount of calories in that, and I didn't actually have a clue.  I couldn't I possibly know if I wasn't tracking, weighing and measuring my food!

Unless you're a walking 'Bombcalorometer' (laboratory based apparatus, used to measure calories in a food), how could you?  Even food labels can be up to 50% inaccurate, either 25% below or above stated not the label.   On top of that, every body absorbs calories differently depending on their 'microbiome'  (digestive system).

Point being, you can't just 'guess-timate' the amount of calories in a food.


10000 steps 

During the day at work, I do well over 10000 steps, walking to and thro work, on the gym floor, lifting  and passing weights and demonstrating exercises.  I'm active all day and went from that, to walking to the fridge, then kettle and back to the sofa.  Not cutting it!

Without the additional activity my body wasn't burning the energy required to combat the excess energy taken in from food.  I'm not saying that walking 10k steps would've solved that, but the principle is the same.  Your NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, is in addition to the higher intensity exercise you should be doing.  I was just relying on the exercise.  Doh!

Monday - Friday

When I was in the 'I've got to change this, I'm getting back on it'  mindset, I did really well Monday to Friday.  I was eating lean, cutting out the booze and ice cream during the week days, but when Friday came, I'd have a curry, with naan and beer...ok and pudding, because it was 'treat night'.  Saturday back on it, until the evening and it was Saturday, 'treat night'.  Sunday, back on it, great breakfast and lunch with a nice big Sunday roast with all the trimmings and dessert, because...it was Sunday-'treat day'.  So all that work I'd putting in Mon-Fri was great but, I completely fucked it at the weekend and put myself back to the beginning by Monday again.

To burn off 1lb of body fat in one week, you need to create a 3500 calorie deficit.  Ideally that wood be 500 per day over 7 days.  So if Mon-Fri (not even Friday evening) I maybe was on course for creating a 2000 calorie deficit, but then when Friday evening came, then it became a slippery slope of excess weekend calories.

This is a pattern I see allll the time with clients and they'll often say something like "I've been good all week".   I'll then say "Cool, tell me about what you ate this weekend..?"Then they'll list of the amount of beers they'd had with their friends at the 'all you can eat boozey brunch'.  If you didn't know by the way, if you eat with 7+ people you'll eat 76% more calories that what you would do if you were eating by yourself.  If you're with 9 or more people, that goes up to 93%+ calories.
A great book on the psychology of eating is 'Mindless Eating' by Dr Brian Wansink.

Stop being such a pussy

If you are exercising and you are controlling your food portions sizes, then you're not pushing yourself hard enough.  I'm sorry, but you if you're keeping your energy intake down (ie calorie intake is low) and you're just doing 20 mins of 'HIIT*' twice per week, or you're doing three yoga sessions per week, you're going to find it very difficult to lose fat.

Training has to be hard and progressive.  Even low intensity running needs to be for at least 45 minutes before you start oxidising fat.

Ideally you should be tracking your workouts with a programme, so that you can adjust when needed (ie plateauing) your:

  • Numbers of reps
  • Numbers of sets
  • Amount of time
  • Amount of weight/resistance 
  • Amount of rest 

*Peoples general perception of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is very different from the reality.  HIIT needs to be HARD, balls to the wall-flat out-just about to pass out-hard. If you can speak during a HIIT workout, you're not cutting it and you need to go again mate.

So there you have it, I'm normal too. I fall victim to the common mistakes and I know this shit.  It's ok, but you should be able to recognise when enough's-enough.  So, what are you going to do about it...?

Keep real folks



1 comment

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