If you ask us to show you what works for our personal training clients, we will show you a wide range of different strategies and systems unique to their own needs and barriers. We appreciate that without one-to-one personal training, however, knowing where to start can be tough, so here we have outlined some of our typical clients who you may be able to relate with.
If you resonate with any of the lifestyles and barriers of our clients outlined below, then this may be a useful place to start when trying to decide what your nutrition might look like on a day to day basis.
“Before I got in touch with Health by Science for Personal Training, I was playing around with various fad diets which never achieved anything sustainable. I also tried regularly going to the gym but lacked the confidence in what I was doing and how to do things correctly.
Achieving my goals and sustaining them had been anything but smooth. With holidays, social events and annual festivities I found it hard to stay on track. The beauty of working with a Personal Trainer at Health by Science is that they helped me to learn from setbacks rather than beat myself up.
Over time this science-based approach to improvement has helped me to find a set of systems and strategies which mean I now feel the fittest I ever have. I have more energy, and I have a better work-life balance.
I started by building my awareness using MyFitnessPal to see what I was eating and drinking, as opposed to trying to remember what I thought I was eating and drinking which is often unreliable and idealistic. We then focused on one nutrition change at a time, small changes that we thought would yield the most significant improvements. This approach was new to me but worked exceptionally well and my nutrition now typically looks like this.
Between meals, I like to snack on fruit and mixed nuts and drink plenty of water. Eating more mindfully has also helped me to notice when I am hungry vs when I just feel like snacking on something.”
I aim to keep about 80% of my nutrition good quality each. To help me do this Monday to Friday is well structured and controlled, except on Friday’s when I go for a bacon sandwich for breakfast. During the weekend I like to have a glass of wine or two with a meal, and sometimes we eat out.
Barriers and solutions
“Through the advice and education from Health by Science, I now understand “why” I need to eat protein, carbs, and fats, “how” much of each I need for my goals and “what” the good quality sources of each are.
We are all human, however, and I have my barriers to maintaining good nutrition, although I now know which strategies help me stay on track.
- Not being organised and not having food at home. To avoid this, every Sunday I do a weekly food shop to get what I need based on my meal plan. I then cook a bulk meal which lasts my partner and me until Wednesday evening when we cook again.
- Not having good snacks available. This makes the biscuits and various treats at work all the harder to resist. Therefore in-between meals when I feel peckish I like eat some fruit (an apple or banana for example) and some mixed nuts.
- Not cooking a big meal to freeze on Sunday evening. I don’t always have the energy to cook and so cooking in bulk saves me a lot of time and hassle. If I don’t cook on a Sunday, then poor quality convenience foods creep their way into my diet. Sometimes I’m not able to cook on a Sunday, or I’m too tired, so I keep some homemade frozen meals in the freezer ready to microwave in minutes.
- Too much alcohol. It’s amazing how a small glass of wine now and again can influence your weight, and this was a real eye-opener for me. Although I still enjoy a few glasses of wine at the weekend, I have cut down alcohol during the week.
When I stay on top of the above strategies by being organised, then I find it much easier to keep consistent. Occasionally things don’t go to plan, and when this happens, I don’t beat myself up too much. I know what I need to do and so get back to being consistent as soon as I can.”
“Over the years I have never been obese but have struggled to maintain my weight at the level I would like. Being in a stressful and demanding job in the NHS means that eating good quality food can quickly fall to the bottom of the priority list. I knew what to do, but I just couldn’t do it consistently.
By making one change at a time, over the past year, my nutrition has gradually become more consistent, and I now feel comfortable with my weight now that my diet is in control. The most prominent game changer for me was using a food diary to increase my awareness around what I was eating and why I was eating it.
On stressful days I would find my head in the biscuit tin because I hadn’t had a chance to eat lunch. Over time I began to realise that although I craved the sugary carb dense foods such as cereal, pasta, toast, and biscuits, I would feel just as satisfied with some fruit and yoghurt. The only difference being that one was helping me achieve my goals while the other was hindering them.”
My preferred snacks are now satisfying and well balanced – an apple and teaspoon of nut butter, an oatcake with ½ a banana and some nut butter or yoghurt and fruit with a drizzle of honey.”
Barriers and solutions
“The main obstacles for me are still the stressful days at work. When I come home, I notice that I crave sweet foods which can impair my results. I now have some go to nutrient dense, sweet treats which satisfy my sweet tooth without getting in the way of my goals.
At the weekend’s life gets a little more random and I occasionally eat too many treats or too much in general. I try not to beat myself up however as I know that Monday to Friday my nutrition is very consistent. When I eat out the first thing I ask is “where’s my protein and veg coming from?” which puts me in the right mindset.
If I don’t have a good breakfast, I notice that I make poor food choices later in the day. Now I prepare my breakfast the night before to save me time in the morning and get the day off to a good start which helps keep me in a good mindset.
The evening before I like to make a nice salad for lunch the next day and works as a side dish for dinner. This fills me up and keeps me going until I get home from work.
If I am not organised then sweet treats, and poor food choices creep their way in. To help reduce the likelihood of this happening I have some recipes that are quick to make, really nutritious and taste great.
Being stressed at work increases the chances of eating rubbish. Now when I get home, I’m more aware that if I put music on and cook, this helps de-stress after work.
If I don’t sit down to eat I notice that I’m far more likely to eat more food and end up in a food coma. Now I make an individual effort to sit down and eat with my husband in the evenings.”
“I have always struggled with my weight; I would drop down to a healthy weight but could not sustain it for long. Over a two-year period, mostly due to stress at work, I was heading towards 15 stone and felt terrible.
In a few short months, I feel that my life has been turned around. I’ve already reached a healthy weight and feel much better in general. But that is just the tip of the iceberg; the team has given me the knowledge and tools to ensure that it is sustainable.
Each breakfast I like to have a Green Warrior Smoothie. For lunch and dinner, I follow the Health by Science plate as best I can. Each day for my snacks I eat a handful of nuts, some carrots and hummus and a homemade protein bar. I also have some Greek yoghurt with a banana after a gym session or a run.”
Barriers and solutions
“My main barriers are eating too many snacks due to boredom. I try to help this by eating good quality foods which will help me feel fuller for longer. To keep my cooking and preparation time down, I cook every two weeks and freeze the meals for the following two weeks. I do an online food shop every two weeks for a big shop and one a week for fresh fruit and vegetables.”
“For the past ten years, I have suffered from depression and chronic lower back pain. Through a combination of social isolation due to depression and medication, I would turn to food for comfort causing me to become, at my heaviest, 120kg.
Through a combination of changing my mindset and receiving Physiotherapy from Health by Science, my pain is improving each day, and my eating is moving in the right direction. I have now made some small changes, and although I am still losing weight, I am now sitting at a much healthier 90kg and always improving.
For breakfast, I usually have a scoop of rice protein with fruit, almond milk, and spinach in a smoothie. I like to mix up the ingredients time and again, however.
Lunch for me is usually small, consisting of some fruit (banana) and mixed nuts. For dinner, I have two portions of protein and lots of veg. Often this is in the form of a stew or soup, especially in the winter, very filling. I don’t regularly eat snacks, but when I am a little more hungry after exercise, I have some fruit and yoghurt.”
Barriers and solutions
My main obstacles are comfort eating from social isolation due to depression and medication. Pain from standing and medication can lead to poor sleep which in turn causes me to crave more dense carbs, as well as unhealthy microwave meals and other foods that don’t need preparation such as biscuits and cheesecakes.
To help myself stay organised, I like to plan and prepare for the week ahead. This involves buying protein from Holland and Barrett once a month, doing an online food shop each week on a Wednesday or Saturday and shop locally for fresh fruit and vegetables.
To reduce the cooking time I like to cook enough food for two days at a time so I only need to cook three times each week. When I am struggling for time, however, I have some quick and easy meals such as an omelette or I always have the ingredients for a bean curry in the cupboards.”
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