Men’s Health Thailand November 2015 Ask The Trainer

Here is a translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

11012063_10153042306887142_3281844784604478776_oI have heard many people are trying the Paleo Diet. What is it and will it help me to get in good shape?
The idea behind the Paleo Diet is that you only eat foods that occur naturally, and that you could have eaten 10,000 or more years ago. This means eating organic meat, wild-caught fish, fresh vegetables (organic if possible) and fruits in season and nuts. Cooking oils should derive from natural unprocessed sources such as coconut oil or avocado oil. Grains like bread, rice and pasta and dairy like milk and cheese are not permitted in this way of eating as the idea is that we haven’t fully adapted to these foods and so our bodies often do not respond very well to them.
I first heard of the Paleo Diet, or ‘caveman diet‘ as it was called then, about 10 years ago and it’s been gaining in popularity ever since. Unlike many dietary trends, the paleo diet isn’t going to die anytime soon as many people have adopted the diet as their full time, permanent way of eating, rather than a method for losing weight quickly. There are even food delivery services now that only send food that complies with the ‘paleo‘ way of eating.
paleoI personally am a big advocate of the Paleo Diet and it works fantastically well for me and many of my clients. Like many people, my body responds better to a lower carbohydrate diet which this approach naturally promotes. You can still get carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and fruits, but there is strictly no added sugar. Whatever your body type, you will certainly gain many benefits from eliminating processed food and sugar and consuming more natural foods full of nutrients. It also naturally provides high protein and lots of healthy fats which helps to keep you satiated and feeling full, and helps you maintain and build muscle.
Some people get obsessive over this way of eating, and desperately avoid eating anything not considered ‘paleo‘. I aim to eat paleo about 80% of the time but I do add in some dairy such as greek yoghurt and milk. The truth is, we can’t be sure of exactly what we ate 10,000 years ago and our eating habits and lifestyles have undoubtably changed a lot since then. However, as a guideline way of eating for optimal health, low body fat and maintaining and building muscle, you can’t go far wrong with this diet.
I’m Jack Thomas, Founder of BASE. More information on our approach to nutrition.
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Men’s Health July 2014 ‘Ask The Trainer’ Q&A Column

mens health julyAn English translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

I want to reduce abdominal fat and have been told I should drop my carbohydrate intake. What’s your view on this?

For years fat was the enemy, but in recent years views have shifted and now it’s commonly thought that carbs should be reduced or avoided to lose weight. This view is largely correct, most people consume far too many carbohydrates for their activity levels and many find it easier to overeat carbs as opposed to foods higher in protein and fat. To put it another way, many people feel more full and satisfied when consuming lower carbohydrate diets. Excessive carb consumption can also promote high levels of a hormone called insulin which often leads to fat gain, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. However, nutrition is a very unique thing – what works for me may not work for you, and you should experiment with your carbohydrate and fat levels to find out what works best for you.

image (2)Diet is crucial in reducing abdominal fat, but rather than focusing too much on the protein, fat and carbohydrate percentages you should first make sure that you’re eating high quality food. This means eating as little processed food as possible, preparing your own meals as opposed to eating in restaurants and consuming whole, natural foods such as organic meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts wherever possible. If you get this right you will often hit your goals, look great and start showing your abdominal and core muscles without the need for tracking calories or macronutrient (carb, protein and fat) amounts.

If you’ve got that right and are still not hitting your goals, you should then try tracking and recording your food intake, make some adjustments, try some new things and monitor the results. If you are unsure how to do this you can seek the help of a personal trainer or nutritionist to guide you.

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Interval training at one of our group classes at BASE is a great way to burn fat. We recommend our signature class for this, BASECAMP.

Men’s Health ‘Ask The Trainer’ Fitness Q&A Column

MH OctoberAn English translation for my monthly column in Men’s Health Thailand.

I sit in an office chair all day and it leaves my body aching and feeling tired. Can you suggest some ways to deal with this?

Our bodies were not designed to be sitting down for long periods of time. Unfortunately, today’s modern lifestyle means we are sitting down more than ever and this is causing common cases of what’s often referred to as Office Desk Syndrome. The first remedy I would suggest is to make movement more a part of your routine, every day. Try walking to work or getting off at an earlier station and taking the stairs instead of the lift – always take the more physical option if you can. Try and incorporate swimming, playing sports or walking in the park to wind down after work. This increased movement will loosen your joints and muscles and help to relax you. Secondly, make it a habit to stand up as often as possible, at least every hour, and work your joints through large ranges of motion, such as your hips, shoulder, neck, knees etc. Complete your new movement routine with dynamic and static stretching as often as possible, with perhaps some weekly yoga or massage to relax your mind and body. These steps will all help to relieve the stress, pain and tension in your body.
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BASE Group Class Training packages are a great way to meet people and get active in Bangkok.