Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: fat loss

Fat Loss: The Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Fat loss and lean muscle gain in one workout? In just 20-30 minutes? It sounds too good to be true but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of your strongest weapons when looking to improve body composition.

A study in the "Journal of Obesity" showed 12 weeks of HIIT reduced body fat and increased muscle mass. There were also substantial reductions in abdominal fat and visceral fat, and increases in lean muscle tissue and overall fitness.

But what about steady state cardio (SSC) or low intensity aerobics? Steady state cardio makes the body work in the most efficient way possible - think of a fuel efficient car, it uses as little gas as possible to get from A to B, which is what SSC does for our bodies, so we burn very little fat and carbohydrates when training this way. Going overboard on SSC can also lead to the loss of lean muscle mass (remember we want lean muscle mass as it is a metabolically active tissue that helps us burn calories), increase cortisol production (cortisol is the stress hormone that can lead to belly fat) and hinder increases in both muscle strength and size.

A lot has been written about HIIT, and there are many ways to utilize this training method. Put simply, there are three different energy systems that we can utilize when performing HIIT training.

In terms of efficiency and results the one that provides the most ‘bang for your buck’ when your goal is fat loss (whilst retaining calorie burning lean muscle tissue) is the Anaerobic “Lactic Acid Glycolytic System, which we shall explore in further detail below.

Why should I train this way?

  • It has 3 main physiological benefits: you burn calories during the workout, it prevents lean muscle loss (and can even build lean muscle depending on the type of workout you do), and ensures you burn more calories throughout the day through a process called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

  • Its easy to fit in – workouts should be no longer than 20-25 minutes (if you can train any longer than this then you are not working at a high enough intensity and are therefore not reaping the benefits).

  • You don’t need any equipment to train this way on your own. Sprints, hill sprints and bodyweight exercises are all great tools for this style of workout.

The Workouts:

  • To start, try a work to rest ratio of 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off. This can be done in many ways, sprints, hill sprints, on a stationary bike, on a rower, etc. Work towards completing 60 rounds, which should take you 20 minutes. This is great for someone who is new to HIIT, and you can work up to the 60 rounds by adding in longer rest periods every 4 -6 rounds. Hill sprints are a great option for beginner as they force you to have good sprint technique (a strong elbow and knee drive), and ensure you are working a the correct intensity.

  • To progress, you can lengthen your work time to 30 seconds with a 1 minute recovery between sets.

  • If wanting to combine resistance training with HIIT (talk about multi tasking) circuit training with 10 reps per set with 10 seconds rest per exercise for a total of 25 to 30 minutes is a great option. Choose compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and pull-ups.

  • What about Tabata? The 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off protocol, commonly known as Tabata is a another option. However the fact that 1, 4 minute round will produce results is a fallacy (wishful thinking)! Tabata intervals are a great tool, however you will need to complete 4 rounds of the 4 minute protocol to achieve results, or combine it with another HIIT protocol to achieve a total workout time of around 16-20 minutes.

Things to consider:

  • Always include a 5 min warm up of pulse raising, multi joint exercises such as High Knees, Star Jumps or Burpees. Think of the R.A.M.P. process: Raise, Activate, Mobilize, Potentiate. Because of the level of intensity needed to reap the benefits of HIIT, a warm up is essential to prime the body for this level of work and to prevent joint and soft tissue injury.

  • The work to rest ratio should be between 1:8 to 1:12 when starting interval training in this way, as you become more used to it and the body starts to adapt you can move to a work to rest ratio of 1:6 to 1:10.

  • The ‘work’ phase of the workout needs to be ‘all-out’ for the benefits to kick in. If you feel nauseous with your heart jumping out of your chest and your lungs in your mouth you are doing it right! As you progress and your fitness level raises this will become more comfortable, so stay with it!

  • If resistance training on the same day as HIIT always resistance train in the morning and HIIT later in the day as you will attain more strength gains when your central nervous system is fresh at the beginning of the day.

  • Never repeat the exact same workout twice – just as with resistance training you always want to improve something in each session, either by adding work volume, lengthening the work to rest ratio, or by increasing intensity. This will also keep the workout fresh and interesting, improving compliance.

  • Don’t train this way more than 3 times a week, it is challenging on many of the bodies systems and more than 3 times a week can lead to burn-out, especially if training with other modalities (eg. resistance training) in the same training phase.

Ask Jenny: How Do I Banish Belly Fat?

‘Dear Jenny - the one area I’m really struggling with is losing belly fat. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and although I’ve absolutely lost some in that area, it seems like it will always be a problem area. I do tons of sit-ups, try to get enough protein, etc. Can you help?’
— Maryann, Boston

Hi Maryann, firstly congratulations on your weight loss! 

Fat around the midsection is one of the last places we lose from, especially in women, but it is possible with the following holistic strategies:

Gut Health: quite often I see clients complaining about belly fat, when (at least in part) they are actually suffering from bloating/constipation.  Drinking a ton of water, eating fibrous greens and taking a good quality probiotic will always help. 

Ensure at least 12 hours 'fast' between finishing your evening meal and starting breakfast to give your body time to digest and absorb, and for your digestive system to 'wake up' in the morning. For example, if you finish dinner at 7pm on a Monday, then don't start breakfast until 7am on a Tuesday. 

Nutrition: low carb is the way to go, and if possible I would try 2 weeks of great proteins (fish, chicken, grass-fed ground beef, pasture raised eggs) unlimited green veggies (kale, spinach, chard, etc), some great fats (coconut oil, avocado, ghee) and just 50g of extra carbs from berries of starchy vegetables. 

Training: quit the sit-ups! Ensure you are strength training in the gym at least 3 times a week, and ensure you are utilizing the big three: squats, deadlifts and pull-ups (these are all scaleable depending on your training experience). These will work your core more than any 'ab' exercise and optimize EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) - which means you burn more calories post workout. 

Sprints have been clinically proven to reduce body fat as they release the hormones involved in fat burning, and mobilize fat stores from the abdominal region. A 2008 study that found that overweight, sedentary women who did 20 minutes of stationary cycle sprints 3 days a week lost an average 2.5 kg of fat, of which a significant portion was from the abdominal region. 

The protocol used in the study: was 8 seconds of sprinting (all out) followed by 12 seconds of active rest (continue pedalling) repeated for a total of 20 minutes. Try this twice a week for best results. If sprints are not your thing try a sweat inducing spin or boxing class as these classes organically use HIIT in their programming.

Stress and Sleep: reducing stress and improving sleep is probably the most under-utilized tool in reducing belly fat. When we are stressed the body releases Cortisol, which (amongst other negative effects) leads us to hold on to and even lay down fat stores, especially around the belly. When we are under stress the body kicks into 'fight or flight' mode and acts as if under attack. It will hold on to excess body fat in case of periods of famine, especially around the midsection. 

Ensure you are taking steps to manage your stress throughout the day (breathing exercises, walking in daylight, meditation, implementing an early caffeine curfew), and prioritize great sleep (7-9 hours without waking) every night. 

Wellbeing: one of the reasons women store fat around the belly area can be excess estrogen in the body. Ensure you are not are not exposing yourself to toxic xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic estrogen in the body), by not eating and drinking out of plastic, and using clean personal care products. Ensure efficient estrogen detoxification by eating a ton of fibrous veggies, add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed to your smoothie everyday and up your water intake to ensure complete bowel movements.

Female Fat Loss is one of my specialities, and is something we address in my Private Coaching packages. For more information on working with me one to one please email jenny@jenniferhanway.com.





 

Fat Loss: Easy Ways to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Today’s Friday Five is all about increasing Insulin Sensitivity - that is how efficiently your body uses carbohydrates for fuel, rather than storing them as fat. Improving Insulin Sensitivity (the opposite of Insulin Resistance, which is the precursor to Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and now the research is pointing to cognitive disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimers), is the foundation of my work with my clients wishing to lose body fat. Insulin resistance also causes inflammation, the root cause of all disease in the body.

However increasing our Insulin Sensitivity should be a goal for everybody, as it results in higher energy levels, a stronger body, increased muscle mass, lower body fat and improved mental cognition and clarity.

Here are my top five ways to improve your Insulin Sensitivity:

1) Sip on Cinnamon Tea: clinical studies have proven cinnamon to significantly improve insulin sensitivity, helping shuttle carbohydrates into the muscle cell instead of storing them as fat. It is so powerful it is even being looked into as replacement for medication in Type 2 Diabetics! Sprinkle cinnamon on your food, or sip on Cinnamon Tea throughout the day by simply steeping a cinnamon stick in hot water.

2) Walk: you have heard me wax lyrical about the benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day, but consider a 20 minute walk after your evening meal, or a meal containing a higher amount of carbohydrates. This is a powerful tool in ensuring what you have eaten converts to fuel, rather than fat in the body, and helps to aid digestion.

3) Choose your fats wisely: it may seem odd to bring fats into a conversation about carbs, but ensuring you are eliminating inflammatory fats such as trans fats and processed vegetable oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, corn and cottonseed), and consuming a good balance of Omega 3 to 6 fats ensures your cell walls (which are made of fat) are soft and pliable, and therefore able to ‘take in’ the glucose in from the bloodstream for use as fuel. When inflammation is present in the body the cell wall and membrane becomes more resistant to the insulin and glucose.

4) Up your magnesium intake: in my opinion magnesium is a miracle mineral, and is essential for over 300 metabolic processes in the body. It is also one of the minerals we are all deficient in, due to our over-farmed soil, diets low in magnesium rich foods (such as shellfish) and because it is used in the processes that mitigate stress in the body. It can increase insulin sensitivity by exerting a positive effect on the insulin receptors in the body. I like to supplement with both an oral and topical magnesium, and ensure my diet is full of magnesium rich foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, almonds and dark chocolate (yum)!

I highly recommend Uber Mag PX and Topical Magnesium from the Poliquin Group, and use these two supplements daily without fail: 

http://main.poliquinstore.com/?___store=usw&acc=cd00692c3bfe59267d5ecfac5310286c

5) Change the structure of your carbs: the benefits of cooking and then cooling carbohydrate rich foods is twofold: by doing this increase the amount of resistant starch, which is digested differently by the enzymes in our gut. This means that food has a much lower effect on our insulin levels, and provides food for our gut bacteria, ensuring a healthy microbiome. Rice, potatoes, green bananas and oats are all great everyday sources of resistant starch.

Are you struggling with weight loss? Have you tried every diet out there but to no avail? I take a 360 degree approach to weight loss, and consider insulin levels, hormone balance, age, lifestyle, stress levels and dietary preferences when developing a personalized nutrition, fitness and wellbeing program for you. For more information email jenny@jenniferhanway.com.

Fat Loss: Alkalizing Creamy Green Soup

This Alkalizing Creamy Green Soup is perfect for when you need a boost of alkalizing, nutrient rich greens, but can’t face another salad! I usually make a big batch and keep some in the fridge or freezer for time-tight meal times, and I love to add roast chicken for an easy throw and go meal.

Its super healing for the gut and wonderfully alkalizing for the body, and one of the top recipe choices for my Gut Healing, Beautiful Skin From Within and Fat Loss clients. Its a powerhouse of my favourite cleansing, detoxifying, antioxidant and phytonutrient rich veggies, combined with skin and gut loving ghee and bone broth.

Makes 2 servings

  • 3 shallots


  • 1 clove garlic


  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon


  • 1 cup broccoli
, chopped

  • 1 cup fennel, finely chopped

  • 2  cups kale, chopped

  • 2 cups bone broth

  • ½ avocado

  • 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt


  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, toasted

  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 1 teaspoon EVOO / Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a large pan saute the shallots, garlic and fennel in the ghee for 2 minutes.
 Add the bone broth, broccoli, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and leave to cook for 4 minutes.

Take off the heat and then add the avocado and spinach, letting the heat wilt the spinach for a couple of minutes. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and top with the pumpkin seeds and EVOO.

My 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program starts again in January! You’ll receive 4 weeks of recipes, meal plans, supplement suggestions and lifestyle strategies designed to heal your gut, eliminate GI distress, lower inflammation and enliven your lightest brightest you!

https://www.jenniferhanway.com/28-day-gut-healing-plan/

Fat Loss: Chicken and Zucchini Skewers with Raw Cashew Satay Sauce

I've given one of my favourite recipes a gut healing makeover for my 28 Day Gut Healing Program and I have to say I think its even better this time round! 

Chicken and Zucchini Cashew Satay Skewers

Makes 2 servings

For the skewers

2 x chicken breasts

  • 1 large zucchini

  • 1 large bell pepper

For the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons tamari

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 clove finely minced garlic

For the satay sauce

  • 4 tablespoons cashew nut butter

  • ½ cup coconut yoghurt

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • ¼ teaspoon finely chopped red chili

 Mix all marinade ingredients in large bowl. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes

Make the satay sauce by placing all ingredients in a food processor and mixing until smooth.

Slice zucchini and peppers into cubes, then slide onto skewers alternating with marinated tofu or chicken cubes.

Grill skewers for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly

Serve with the satay sauce and a green salad.

We buy all our pasture raised, grass-fed meat from Butcher Box and its changed our lives! Snag your free bacon for life, free shipping and $15 discount by heading to: 

https://www.butcherbox.com/jenniferhanway

Our pantry staples come from Thrive Market and we love the convenience of the service, the prices, and the fact that our membership gives back! Use the link below to save an extra $25 on your order and get free shipping:

http://go.thrv.me/SH7Be

Our local, seasonal and organic produce comes from Boston Organics, and every time the big green box arrives it feels like my birthday! Save 10% off your first delivery with the code: 6519bofdbh

https://bostonorganics.com/ 

Fat Loss: Chili Lime Roast Chicken

Roast chicken was a Sunday staple in my house as I was growing up, and its a tradition that Tim and I have continued. 

Roast chicken is so easy to prepare, and is super affordable. We always choose pasture raised chicken when we can, and buying the whole bird is so much cheaper per lb than if you were to just buy the chicken breasts. You can also use the leftovers in so many ways - salads, wraps, etc, but be warned, this recipe is so delicious that you probably wont have any! 

Roast chicken usually feels like warming winter comfort food, but I've given it a lighter twist with this Chili Lime version and this spicy rub lends itself well to any poultry dish. I love to roast meat in a large cast iron pan, but you can use any oven proof dish. 

Chili Lime Roast Chicken

  • 1 large pasture raised chicken

  • 2 limes

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • zest on 1 lime

  • juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with your cast iron skillet placed on the middle shelf.

Mix the rub ingredients in a bowl. Pat the chicken dry, then rub with the chili lime mixture. Slice the 4 limes, and place them around the chicken. 

Roast the chicken until the breast registers 120 degrees F (measured using a meat thermometer).

At this point turn the oven off and leave the chicken in until the breast reaches 160 degrees (usually around 20 minutes).

Remove from the oven and cover loosely with aluminium foil, resting for 15 minutes. 

Serve with the roasted lime slices and a green salad. 

We love Butcher Box for our pasture fed, humanely raised meat, and you can get free bacon for life when you subscribe using my link: http://fbuy.me/jhhUV

This recipe is part of My 28 Day Gut Healing Program.

To find out more head to: 

https://www.jenniferhanway.com/28-day-gut-healing-plan/

 

Carb Cycling for Beginners

Below is an article I wrote last year for a British Health Magazine - now I can finally share it with you! 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 

Carb Cycling for Beginners - but not these kind of carbs! ; ) 

 

Most nutrition plans written by fitness and nutrition professionals usually involve some kind of carb cycling, even if the term is not specifically used. In essence carb cycling (like the majority of diets) is a form of calorie restriction (the foremost principle of weight loss is you need to expend more calories than you consume to see the scale drop). 

Carb Cycling, when referred to by a Dietitian, Nutritionist or Personal Trainer refers to the manipulation of the amounts consumed of the 3 macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats), usually determined by the clients bodyweight, body fat to muscle ratio, and frequency and intensity of workouts.

Macronutrients are the building blocks of the foods we eat (micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals) and are classified as follows:

Carbohydrates: the components of carbohydrates are Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. In their original form most carbohydrates come from plants. There are two types of carbohydrate: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body (and in turn raise our blood sugar rapidly, forcing the pancreas to make more insulin) due to their lack of fibre. Complex carbohydrates are a healthier option (and more suitable for weight loss diets) due to their fibre content which slows the rise in blood sugar. 

Great complex carbohydrate choices include: 

  • Organic starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squashes and yams.
  • Gluten free grains such as rice, oats, buckwheat and quinoa.
  • Low GI fruits such as berries, apples and kiwis. 

 

Protein: protein is made from complex macromolecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, and are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. These amino acids are broken down in the digestive system and are used for the essential growth and repair of tissues, and as a secondary energy source.  Animal sources are referred to as ‘complete proteins’ (meaning they contain all 20-22 amino acids), and plant sources are ‘incomplete’ as they do not contain all the amino acids. 

Healthy protein choices include: 

  • Organic, lean cuts of meat 
  • Wild caught fish.
  • Pasture raised eggs
  • Organic, full fat dairy
  • Beans, pulse legumes
  • Whey and Vegan protein powders

 

Fats: fats consist of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. Dietary fat supplies us with essential fatty acids (known as linoleic and and linolenic acid) that cannot be made by the body. Fat is vital in our diets as it aids the absorption of certain vitamins, helps brain development and protects our organs, and is the body’s second most preferred source of energy. It is important to avoid trans fatty acids and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats as they can have negative effects on health. 

Healthy fat choices include: 

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Pasture raised butter
  • Nuts and nut butter 
  •  

When looking at any kind of diet for weight loss, choosing foods that have the most ‘bang for your buck’ (the most nutrient dense foods) is of utmost importance. When calories are restricted the quality of those calories are essential not just for weight loss (it is easier for the body to utilize fat burning for energy production when the body is in a healthy state), but for energy, stress levels, good sleep and beautiful hair, skin and nails. Choose single ingredient, unprocessed foods, that are organic and in season.

Carbohydrate intake is usually the first variable changed when dieting for fat loss. Reducing carbohydrates can cause a drop in weight for a number of reasons:  It automatically reduces calories, it limits the amount of processed foods consumed, and is effective if a client is showing signs of insulin resistance. When any type of carbohydrate is consumed our blood sugar levels rise, followed by the release of insulin from the pancreas. The insulin is released to enable the sugar (energy) to get into the muscle cells (insulin literally ‘unlocks’ the cells to enable to energy in). Insulin resistance is the body’s inability to handle carbs efficiently, when blood sugar is raised too quickly and too often the body is unable to handle the amount of energy being produced, it is unable to ‘get into fuel the cells, and therefore is stored as fat.

However, not all carbs are bad for you, and not all carbs are created equally. Refined, processed carbs (white bread, donuts, cookies,) raise blood sugar very quickly, and should not be consumed on a regular basis. Carbohydrates such as sweet potato, oats, squashes and whole grains can be eaten as part of a healthy diet and have some great nutritional benefits.

There is no doubt a low carbohydrate diet can be a great quick fix for some, and the resulting weight loss can give a much needed boost to health, self esteem and insulin sensitivity. However, most on a low carbohydrate diet will start to plateau, and not including carbohydrates in your diet can cause negative effects such as raised cortisol (the stress hormone), lowered thyroid function and poor mood and energy levels. 

Carb cycling has many benefits, and can be successful for both the general population client and the professional body builder! Below is a list of some of the reasons why carb cycling can be an effective approach for most: 

  • It is a great transition from a lower carb to a moderate carb diet - carb cycling reintroduces carbohydrates to the body at a slower rate, important for insulin sensitivity. 
  • As body weight and workout intensity are used to calculate your macros (and therefore your calories) it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it is highly personalised which is essential for weight loss results 
  • Higher carbohydrate foods often contain higher levels of some micronutrients (vitamins and mineral) than proteins and fats such as B Vitamins, magnesium and and beta carotene. 
  • It can prevent catabolism (muscle loss), and even increase muscle growth, important when trying to build muscle and increase metabolism (muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass). 
  • Adding carbohydrates to the diet can breakthrough weight loss plateaus as it can upregulate thyroid function and provide more energy for hard training sessions.
  • Boredom and lack of food variety can be an underestimated player in weight loss, carb cycling reintroduces different foods and meal plans.
  • Its flexibility means you can plan for when you may eat off track, such as dining out, holidays and vacation. 
  • It helps mitigate stress and improve sleep - carbohydrates upregulate the neurotransmitters that control your feel good hormones (serotonin and dopamine), which in turn can also help you get a great night’s sleep and result in more weight loss. 

In the majority of diets ‘low carb’ is considered to be an intake of under 50g of carbohydrates a day, but what is considered high carb can vary greatly, and what is high carb for 1 person may be low carb for another. This is dependent of a variety of factors including: 

  • Bodyweight
  • Body composition (muscle mass to fat ratio)
  • Level of insulin resistance / insulin sensitivity
  • Amount of inflammation in the body
  • Stress levels 
  • Genetic make up
  • Hormone balance
  • Training frequency and intensity 

In this example we will look at 3 different levels of carbohydrate intake, a high carb day, a mid carb day and a low carb day. The more weight you have to lose, the less insulin sensitive you will be. This means your body will be more likely to store carbohydrates as fat rather than muscle. If you have over 20lbs to lose, start out with 1-2 high carb days a week. Those who are leaner who wish to build more muscle can handle more frequent high carb days, and would benefit from 2-3 a week. 

For example, let’s say you strength train 3 times a week in the gym, and on 2 days a week you do cardio for 25-35 minutes. On your 2 most intense strength training days (perhaps your full body workouts or leg day) you will raise your carbohydrate intake, keep protein at mid range, and have little to no fat (ie. your high carb day). This will help increase muscle growth and provide energy for your workouts.  On the 3rd strength training day (your lighter day) you would consume a medium carbohydrate intake, a little more protein and a little more fat (mid carb day). The other days would be your 4 low carb days, keeping insulin levels low and enabling your body to use fat as a fuel source. 

To establish your own macronutrient goals we need 3 pieces of information; your body weight, your somatotype, and the frequency and intensity of your strength training. Somatotypes are a classification of 3 body types in relation to bone size and muscularity, they are detailed below to help you ascertain yours:

Ectomorph: generally lean, a smaller frame and thinner limbs. Has a faster metabolism, your goal is usually to gain muscle instead of losing fat. Ectomorphs should choose 3 high carb days, 3 medium carb days and 1 low carb day a week. 

Mesomorph: athletic looking with a medium sized frame. Stays reasonably lean and muscular without too much effort. Your goal is usually to optimize body composition (increase muscle / decrease fat). Mesomorphs should choose 2 high carb days, 2 medium carb days and 3 low carb day a week.

Endomorph: a larger frame and heavier set. A slower metabolism, you are usually trying to decrease body fat.  Endomorphs should choose 1 high carb day, 1 mid carb, and 5 low carb days a week. 

 

A suggested calculation for your high, medium and low carb days is as follows:

High Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 1.4 g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: under 30g

 

Medium Carb Day

Carbohydrate: 0.8g per lb of bodyweight

Protein: 1.5 g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.3g per lb of bodyweight

 

Low Carb Day

Carbohydrate: Approx 50g carbs coming from non starchy vegetables only

Protein: 1.4g per lb of bodyweight

Fat: 0.5g per lb of bodyweight 

 

Let’s put this into practice for a 125lb female Mesomorph, whose priority is looking to drop fat whilst maintaining muscle size. Her base calories are 1625 a day as she workouts 5 times a week and is reasonably active. She trains with a high intensity 3 times a week, and does 2 x 35 minute Metabolic Conditioning workouts a week.

Her Carb Cycling breakdown for the week might look like this: 

High Carb Day (2 Days a Week) 

Carbohydrate: 175g

Protein: 175g

Fat: 20g

 

Medium Carb Day (2 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 100g

Protein: 187.5g

Fat: 37.5g 

 

Low Carb Day (3 Days a Week)

Carbohydrate: 50g

Protein: 200g 

Fat: 62.5g 

 

The nature of carb cycling lends itself to eating smaller meals more frequently and you may find that 5 small meals are easier to digest, especially on on your high carbohydrate days. 

A neglected (but effective) aspect of carb cycling is known as ‘nutrient timing’ - the placing of the carbs at specific times (usually focussed around the workout) for the body to be able to use them most effectively. To utilize nutrient timing eat the majority of your carbohydrates in the two meals after you workout. This could mean adding oats into your post workout shake, and then having another serving of low GI carbs (such as sweet potato) in the next full meal post workout. Keep fats low in these 2 meals so your body can use the carbs to full muscle building effect. With this format the meals furthest away from your workout will consist mostly of protein and fats. 

 

Below is a suggested meal plan for our 125lb female mesomorph on a high carb day (training mid morning):  

 

Breakfast: 40g Protein / 10g Fat 

2 large scrambled eggs, 4 slices of turkey bacon with steamed spinach

Post Workout Smoothie: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

2 scoops protein powder, ½ cup oats and a small banana

Lunch: 35g Protein / 75g Carb

3.7oz grilled chicken breast, 1.25 cups sweet potato with a leafy green salad

Mid Afternoon Snack: 30g Protein

1 serving 0% fat greek yoghurt with 0.5 scoop protein powder

Dinner: 35g Protein / 10g Fat

5oz Rump steak, steamed broccoli, green beans and 1 teaspoon butter

 

There is some math involved, but once you have your individualised calculations you have a very effective guideline to work to.Here are some tips to make the process easier: 

  • Use single ingredient foods in their natural state, this will help to separate and calculate your amounts of protein, fats and carbs
  • Food preparation is key, plan and prepare your meals in advance 
  • Use a calorie tracking app on your smartphone - My Fitness Pal is easy to use, has an enormous database of foods and you can even scan the barcodes of the foods you eat. 
  • No change on the scale? Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, which is why you may not see the drop bodyweight you expected. Track your progress by taking weekly photos in your sportswear and note improvements in the gym and in mood and positivity too. 

 

 

Meal Prepping 101

One of the biggest challenges my clients have is meal prepping, from what to prep, to how much to make to how to store it. 

In my opinion meal prep is one of the most important things you can do to help you stick to a healthy diet, especially if you have a busy schedule and are following any kind of special diet (vegan, gluten free, paleo, low carb, etc). It will also save you a ton of money, help you eat locally and seasonally and keep a connection to the food you eat on a daily basis.

It is also a life saver for Husband Hanway and I, as at least 95% (maybe more) of the food we eat is made at home, we both have busy schedules, and he doesn't have a lot of time to cook during the week (and he eats a lot)! 

I suggest setting aside about 90 minutes on a Sunday to meal prep for the week (if you work a Monday to Friday), or find a day and time that works for you. Make a list of what you are going to prep and the order that it needs to be cooked in, and have your storage containers ready. Ensure you have cleared space in the fridge, freezer or pantry for storage. Finally, put on your favorite music or a good podcast, and instead of thinking of it as a chore, reframe your thinking to know you are taking time out to nourish yourself and fuel yourself for the week ahead. 

Getting Prepped for Meal Prep

You don't have to have a lot of fancy kitchen equipment to meal prep for the week, but I do recommend getting a few good basic items to make the process easier. My essentials include: 

Storage

  • Glass food storage containers with lids - varying sizes, and these can be used for both cooking and storage. Amazon has a lot of great inexpensive options.
  • Mason jars with plastic lids - swapping out the metal lids for plastic on my mason jars has been a game changer (thanks to my MIL for the tip). They only cost a couple of dollars for 10 lids, and are easier to use and don't rust. 
  • Ziplock bags - I try and avoid plastic as much as I can and favor reusable items, but ziplock bags are great for freezer storage when you don't have a lot of room
  • Unbleached parchment paper - to use in place of aluminum foil

Preparation

  • One good chef's knife
  • A chopping board
  • Veggie peeler
  • Measuring cups 
  • Blender or food processor (not essential, but there are now a number of good inexpensive blenders on the market). 

Cooking

  • 1 cast iron skillet (not essential, but definitely a good investment) or a frying pan 
  • 1 ceramic saucepan 
  • Slow cooker or crock pot 

What to Prep

This is going to be different for everyone depending on your diet, how much you eat and what you like to eat, but here are some options or ideas. I start with the items that need to go in the oven, then prep the rest as they are cooking to save time. Remember you don't have to prep all of the options below, and we certainly don't do all of these every week! 

Roast in Oven

I usually roast chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the oven, and keep it simple by using coconut oil and salt and pepper. This is delicious on its own, but also means I can add different flavorings during the week to mix it up. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator. 

We also roast a big batch of winter veggies in coconut oil - its very easy to do, and they keep well in the refrigerator. Its also a great way to eat seasonally, and in the winter I'd rather eat some beautiful, nutritious root veggies than a salad! What I cook changes each week with whats good from local farms, but at the moment includes carrots (of all colors), squashes, celeriac and kohlrabi. I peel and cube these, coat them in coconut oil, and roast with salt and pepper, and a couple of garlic cloves. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator.  If I have extra I can use these to blend into a soup too. 

I'll also cook up one egg based breakfast dish such as a frittata or egg muffins as they can easily be made into individual portions and kept in the refrigerator or freezer (see Turkey Bacon Egg Muffins)

Cook on the Hob

Here I will cook some kind of patties or pancake that I know will be good cold and last well in the refrigerator. Options include Turkey Meatballs, Cashew and Rosemary Patties, or TigerNut and Oat Savory Pancakes.

I will also cook at least one gluten free grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice, in some Bare Bones Broth or veggie stock for added flavor. 

You can also make a vegan curry or stew on the hob for my plant based eaters, and for this who are trying to get more veggies in your diet (i.e. everyone)! My Chickpea and Quinoa Curry is perfect for this. 

Slow Cooker

Throwing a chili in the slow cooker and letting it cook overnight is so easy, and a great option in the winter. Try my Hearty Cacao Chili for a super nutritious option. 

I also use my slow cooker for cooking sweet potatoes - just wash and pierce the skin, and set on high for 4-6 hours depending on how big the potatoes are. I use these either in meals for the week, or freeze and use in my Gut Friendly Sweet Potato Smoothie.

No Cook Breakfast Options

Depending on my schedule for the week I may grab my mason jars and ziplock bags for some no cook breakfasts and snacks - I'll prepare some simple Overnight Oats or Chia Puddings in my mason jars and put in the fridge, and if its a super busy week then I'll portion out all the ingredients for my morning Superfood Smoothies and put into individual ziplock bags and but in the freezer. This is amazing for when I have to eat breakfast at 5.30am in the morning to get to my early clients, and don't have time (or the brain power at that time of the morning) to measure out all of my Maca, Collagen, Spirulina! I also now swear by my Organic Living Superfoods Designer Smoothie Blends as all of the hard work is done for you! 

Super Supplements

The one other prep I do at the weekends is to organize my supplements for the week, as even I need some help to remember to take them every day. I'll put the supplements I take each day in a small container, and then put them in the fridge next to my almond milk (essential for my morning coffee) so I cant fail to see them! 

By following these guidelines it should enable you to have great grab and go options throughout the week. All of the dishes mentioned here last about 5 days in the refrigerator, and you can either portion out all of the meals ready to go for the week, or (what I do) is make a list on the front of the fridge of what we have in there, then mix and match all of the dishes to keep variety during the week. 

All of my online plans include what to prep and how to prep for the coming week, grocery lists and recipes. My 28 Day Lean and Clean Plan is perfect if you are looking to clean up your diet and re-energize your training and nutrition regime (or are looking to start one)! 

28 Day Lean and Clean Plan

I'd love to hear your healthy meal prep hacks! What are your go-to dishes that you prep for the week? 

 

 

 

Fitness Friday: Why I Love HIIT Workouts and You Should Too!

Fat loss and lean muscle gain in one workout? In just 20-30 minutes? It sounds too good to be true but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of your strongest weapons when looking to improve body composition.

A study in the "Journal of Obesity" showed 12 weeks of HIIT reduced body fat and increased muscle mass. There were also substantial reductions in abdominal fat and visceral fat, and increases in lean muscle tissue and overall fitness.

But what about steady state cardio (SSC) or low intensity aerobics? Steady state cardio makes the body work in the most efficient way possible - think of a fuel efficient car, it uses as little gas as possible to get from A to B, which is what SSC does for our bodies, so we burn very little fat and carbohydrates when training this way. Going overboard on SSC can also lead to the loss of lean muscle mass (remember we want lean muscle mass as it is a metabolically active tissue that helps us burn calories), increase cortisol production (cortisol is the stress hormone that can lead to belly fat) and hinder increases in both muscle strength and size.

A lot has been written about HIIT, and there are many ways to utilize this training method. Put simply, there are three different energy systems that we can utilize when performing HIIT training.

In terms of efficiency and results the one that provides the most ‘bang for your buck’ when your goal is fat loss (whilst retaining calorie burning lean muscle tissue) is the Anaerobic “Lactic Acid Glycolytic System, which we shall explore in further detail below.

Why should I train this way? 

  • It has 3 main physiological benefits: you burn calories during the workout, it prevents lean muscle loss (and can even build lean muscle depending on the type of workout you do), and ensures you burn more calories throughout the day through a process called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
  • Its easy to fit in – workouts should be no longer than 20-25 minutes (if you can train any longer than this then you are not working at a high enough intensity and are therefore not reaping the benefits).
  • You don’t need any equipment to train this way on your own. Sprints, hill sprints and bodyweight exercises are all great tools for this style of workout.

The Workouts: 

  • To start, try a work to rest ratio of 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off. This can be done in many ways, sprints, hill sprints, on a stationary bike, on a rower, etc. Work towards completing 60 rounds, which should take you 20 minutes. This is great for someone who is new to HIIT, and you can work up to the 60 rounds by adding in longer rest periods every 4 -6 rounds. Hill sprints are a great option for beginner as they force you to have good sprint technique (a strong elbow and knee drive), and ensure you are working a the correct intensity.
  • To progress, you can lengthen your work time to 30 seconds with a 1 minute recovery between sets.
  • If wanting to combine resistance training with HIIT (talk about multi tasking) circuit training with 10 reps per set with 10 seconds rest per exercise for a total of 25 to 30 minutes is a great option. Choose compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and pull-ups.
  • What about Tabata? The 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off protocol, commonly known as Tabata is a another option. However the fact that 1, 4 minute round will produce results is a fallacy (wishful thinking)! Tabata intervals are a great tool, however you will need to complete 4 rounds of the 4 minute protocol to achieve results, or combine it with another HIIT protocol to achieve a total workout time of around 16-20 minutes.

Things to consider:

  • Always include a 5 min warm up of pulse raising, multi joint exercises such as High Knees, Star Jumps or Burpees. Think of the R.A.M.P. process: Raise, Activate, Mobilize, Potentiate. Because of the level of intensity needed to reap the benefits of HIIT, a warm up is essential to prime the body for this level of work and to prevent joint and soft tissue injury.
  • The work to rest ratio should be between 1:8 to 1:12 when starting interval training in this way, as you become more used to it and the body starts to adapt you can move to a work to rest ratio of 1:6 to 1:10.
  • The ‘work’ phase of the workout needs to be ‘all-out’ for the benefits to kick in. If you feel nauseous with your heart jumping out of your chest and your lungs in your mouth you are doing it right! As you progress and your fitness level raises this will become more comfortable, so stay with it!
  • If resistance training on the same day as HIIT always resistance train in the morning and HIIT later in the day as you will attain more strength gains when your central nervous system is fresh at the beginning of the day.
  • Never repeat the exact same workout twice – just as with resistance training you always want to improve something in each session, either by adding work volume, lengthening the work to rest ratio, or by increasing intensity. This will also keep the workout fresh and interesting, improving compliance.
  • Don’t train this way more than 3 times a week, it is challenging on many of the bodies systems and more than 3 times a week can lead to burn-out, especially if training with other modalities (eg. resistance training) in the same training phase.

Endless Energy Bites!

My favorite recipes involve grabbing a bunch of super nutritious ingredients, throwing them in a bowl and smushing them into bite size pieces...these Endless Energy Bites fit that bill perfectly! Like most people these days, a good proportion of my snacking and meals happen on the go. As a result of this we want to make sure we get as much 'bang for your buck' nutrition as possible, in a way that is easy to digest and accessible to the body.

These Endless Energy Bites are packed full of energy boosting superfoods and are easy to make, easy to grab and go and easy to eat on the run (not literally, thats dangerous)! 

Maca: an ancient super food known for increasing energy and stamina, balancing hormones, and is said to help raise libido...

TigerNut Flour: the world's number one source for resistant starch (the food for the good bacteria in our stomachs), tigernut flour is also packed full of vitamins and minerals and has a delicious sweet taste.

Cacao Nibs: Natures chocolate, cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants than any other known food, raises levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (that make us feel great) and has gentle levels of caffeine to give us a little boost!

Endless Energy Bites

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1 cup tigernut flour

  • 1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed

  • 2 tablespoons chia seed

  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

  • 1 tablespoon maca powder

Mash avocado and banana together until smooth (can use a food processor). Add in all the dry ingredients and mix well together (can use a food processor). At this stage I like to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help the mixture to solidify, but this step can be skipped if pushed for time. Roll into balls, about 1 heaped teaspoon of mixture per bite. Refrigerate, will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

 

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com