For July 2017, SportSphere wanted to find out what diet advice a personal trainer would recommend to the ordinary person trying to keep fit through exercise or sport
Hi Kieran. How did you become involved in fitness and becoming who you are now?
I got involved about 10 years ago when I was 14. At that point I was overweight so thought it was time to get into shape. The initial comments on how well I looked motivated me more and more to keep on working away. I was also in to WWE, so the physique aspect of getting fit came in there.
The university lifestyle impacted how much I trained – in the first two years I dropped off the ball a bit but after that I started getting back into it.
What food do you tend to go for after a standard work-out?
I don’t go for a big meal. I tend to get hungry but not too much; it’s probably down to the amount of water I consume during my workout. I’ll have a protein shake, a healthy snack like a banana or protein bar, then I’ll give it 45 minutes and then I’ll cook a proper meal to eat. A lot of those meals will be a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, especially if it’s after a weights or resistance training session.
In those sessions you break down a lot of your muscles, so you need to re-build them and build up the amino-acids to aid your recovery. That’s why I generally have protein shakes after a workout; it helps the muscles start to re-build immediately.
Carbohydrates are important, especially after endurance or resistance training, because you’re using the carbohydrates you have in your body as a source of energy, so they need replacing.
What would you recommend to Joe Bloggs out there who is after a healthy post-exercise meal?
Healthy snacks are a must – there’s so many health bars out there now to choose from, they’re easy to find. You can’t go wrong with fruit either. If you’re after something more substantial, a sandwich, pasta, or a chicken salad is always good. They have the mix of the carbohydrates and protein your body needs to recover to be able to go again.
There is a lot of talk about cutting down carbohydrates, but you need them as a source of energy. Even if it’s just a bit of wholemeal bread; just don’t overdo it.
I don’t know about you, but cravings are the absolute worst for me. Have you got a particular way you go about crushing them?
I’m quite relaxed with it to be honest. It can always be a bit tempting, but what I do to counter it is to have four meals a day where I have prepared them all in advance.
I find that helps me to resist cravings because if I miss breakfast or if I go a really long time without eating, I’ll end up craving anything. Even if it’s snacks, I’ll always start craving sweet things and chocolate that will fill me up quick, so by constantly having meals at set times in the day, every two to three hours, then it helps me craving too much of the bad things out there.
Should the ordinary gym-goer or casual sports participant be more concerned about calorie counting or ‘eating clean’?
It’s definitely a mix of the two, but I would say healthy eating should take priority.
Some people might have a misunderstanding that if you eat less, then you’ll lose weight and be healthier and thinner but it depends what you eat as well. You can lower your food intake but it might end up with more snacking during the day; so calories consumed might not be as much but there can still be a lot of fats and sugars in your diet. Snacks won’t give you the carbohydrates and protein that you need to be healthy.
Even if you’re trying to lose weight or burn fat, if your calorie intake is high but your food is healthy and you’re doing regular exercise, you can still burn the calories you need to be healthier.
If you’re going over your suggested calorie intake and you’re panicking, don’t. Take a look at what you’re eating. Have you been eating lots of meals but are they full of fresh vegetables, lean meat, and the right balance of carbohydrates? If you’re avoiding sugars, greasy meats and the likes of takeaways, you’re going in the right direction.
Keiran Sinclair-Falconer is a personal trainer for JD Gyms, based in Preston.