February 25, 2018

Are Calories Important when it comes to weight loss?

Its nearly the New Year and its that time when everyone becomes a Fitness Expert. Reality TV stars are flogging workout DVDs and diet plans and it basically makes it even more confusing for the general public that want to try and lose some weight.

One of the most talked about topics amongst my fitness friends this week has been Joe Wickes one of the most popular Fitness and Diet Gurus in the UK stating on twitter that he doesn’t believe in calorie counting.bodycoach

Before going on to talk about Joes post lets have a look at some of the most popular diets and why they “work” to some degree.

Paleo Diet – You eat only the foods our hunter gatherer ancestors ate, by doing this you exclude high calorie processed foods so you therefore eat less calories.

Intermittent Fasting – You eat only between a certain period of time often between 1pm-8pm so effectively you eat less calories.

Weightwatchers – Points values are allocated to foods based around their calories so if you do it right … you eat less calories.

Slimming World – syns and free foods based around low fat, low calories food so in general if SW works for you its because you are eating less calories. The caveat to this is if its not working for you its because bizarrely SW have free foods that include pasta and potatoes, someone with a good appetite or a bit of a carb monster can easily eat TOO MANY CALORIES this way.

Back to Joes social media post……

So the Body Coach doesn’t believe in Calorie Counting and this for me is a fundamental reason why people doing his program will experience mixed results.

I actually like a lot of what Joe does, I have all his books as you can never have too many meal ideas.

I like the fact that he promotes people eating real foods, quick and easy to make and not fearing fat.


Here is the problem, if you crunch the ingredients from some of his recipes into a calorie tracker a single serving has more calories in than an XL KFC meal, sure the nutrition will most likely be better in the Body Coach recipe but if you only need to consume say 1600 cals a day and you are mislead in to thinking you can have two “healthy meals” at 900 calories each plus a breakfast and snacks you could easily be over shooting your calories by 400-600 per day. Thats enough to gain 1lb a week!

“Calories count but they don’t need counting”

So whats my take on this? Well I think Calories count but don’t necessarily need counting. I work with the majority of my clients using their hand to measure out portion sizes based on different macro nutrients, Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. This system works well enough for most people to keep their calories in check. Your hand is usually in relation to the size of your body and you have it every where you go so its a simple system to follow.

Of course if I was preparing someone for a photo shoot or fitness modelling competition (which isnt my scene) then I would probably need to track calories more accurately. If someone had hit a plateaux with their progress I may also look at logging calories more carefully but for most people just starting out gaining a good understanding of what bad habits have caused them to be in a place they don’t want to be and a basic understanding of how their plate should look with Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates gives them some flexibility.


Why you should ditch the scales in 2018

From an early age, we’ve been trained to obsess with the scales as a measure of health and fitness progress.

I’m sure you relate to some of the following?new year

Being told, “You’ve gained weight…”
The growing trend in fat loss groups whose sole focus is weight loss on the scales.
Magazine and newspaper headlines stating how much a certain celebrity has lost.
Endless diet programs and books promoting weight loss.
TV shows revolving around the biggest weight lost.
Testimonials about a certain product helping someone lose ‘X’ lbs.

Think about it.

Everything is focused on bodyweight – no wonder so many of us worship the scales.

Are they really that important?

Scales and body weight are a monitoring tool, they tell you how much you weigh. They don’t tell you how much bodyfat you have gained or lost. They are not indicators of your success or failure.

For those STILL obsessed purely with the scales consider this:-

Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body’s water content can send scale-watchers into meltdown if they don’t understand what’s happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto it’s water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to notch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention.

Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if you’re prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, if you must weigh yourself it’s wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink. Eating a big meal before you step on the scales is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It’s the actual weight of everything you’ve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you’ve finished digesting it.


The 4 Things you need for Weight Loss Success

As we have just passed the 10th Birthday of Body Fix Boot Camp  I often get asked how we have “survived’ so long. When I first started up I was the only Boot Camp around. Since then several have popped up and disappeared whilst we not only survive but thrive.Weight Loss inch loss

I put the success down to our clients, after all we only supply the tools they do the hard work.

When it comes to getting results I believe that there are 4 key reasons for our success with weight loss clients.

1. Correct Nutrition
I get really frustrated as I scroll through my facebook news feed at the number of crazy fad diets, so many pyramid sales diet shakes on the market now and other extreme diets. I don’t believe in fad diets and have met so many people that have suffered the yo-yo effect after doing them. They have lost a decent amount of weight, mainly water and glycogen weight and gained it back plus more because of the damage the fad diet has caused to their metabolism – soul destroying.
Our 4 week Transformation plan isn’t based on fads. Clients can lose significant numbers of inches with sustainable healthy eating and eating plenty of food, no starving the body with us!

2. Effective Workouts
Another popular facebook badge of honour seems to be that of the cardio queen who has just completed back to back classes for 3 hours at the local gym.

The key to workouts for fat loss is to work smart and not long. Overwork and over exercise leads to burnout and injury. You must do the right workout that’s suited to you and your goals, but also not some of the crazy over the top high intensity stuff that whilst it gets you sweaty and feeling like you’ve worked out actually places strain or stress your body so it “shuts down” and does not help you gain the results you want.
Body Fix workouts are designed to burn fat without sending your body’s systems into panic mode, the aim is to get the most “bang for your buck” in other words the best results in the shortest time.

3. The best support network
The biggest factor for creating positive change is surrounding yourself with the right people. This is the step most often overlooked. Without the proper motivation and accountability it’s easy to slip.
When you work in a group setting with like-minded, supportive people like in our 4 week challenge you feel motivated to not only let yourself down but also not let your fellow challengers down.

4. Lifestyle change = Maintain results
You are not changing just for the short term. The goal is to change your life to make a positive transformation and change your attitude and approach to food and exercise. In our 4 week Transformation Challenge we help our clients lose the weight and inches they want and then in our continuation program help them continue to make progress and maintain their results for life.

Find out more at www.BodyFixBootcxamp.co.uk 

What is “core” training?

In a recent feedback survey for our Boot Campers the number one thing that people wanted to do more of was “core work”. It was my fault as I listed it as one of the options without really ever explaining what “core” was. DH before and after website

So in the wider world Core gets used to describe the abdominal area , people think of sit ups , six packs and flat stomachs.

This is where things get confusing…… to start with you could do sit ups all day long every day but unless you have a low enough body fat % you wont see the toned abdominals below. In fact we NEVER do sit ups in Boot Camp. Why? With me being a sports therapist as well as a PT I have studied Stuart McGills work and he has proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that Sit ups , crunches…. whatever you want to call them put you at an extremely high risk of injury. The pressure that goes through the disc when doing them can often exceed 2000 psi , that coupled with the fact that people seem obsessed with doing 100s at a time means that you are creating repeated stress in your lower back in a classic injury movement.

Does everyone that includes sit ups get injured? No, of course not but I work on a risk and reward basis and there is no benefit to your average person training for health doing sit ups yet their is a significant increase in risk. Sure if I was training a thai boxer or athlete that required abdominal flexion for their sport we would probably chuck some in but not for your average recreational exerciser.

So what is core training and what do I program in Boot Camp?

1. Stability

As it would suggest you hold a static position for a challenging amount of time, Plank, Hip Bridges and Bird Dog are the ones that immediately spring to mind.

2. Dynamic Stability

In these exercises you will hold a stable position whilst moving your arms or legs . Examples are mountain climbers, renegade row, leg walk outs, elbow to knees, spidermans, dead bugs.

3. Strength

It always annoys me if I train in a big gym and I hear a PT tell a client that they are about to do core stability work and then bust out the ab cradle for some sit ups. (never EVER use an ab cradle) Sit ups are core strength not stability.  Strength exercise would be things like the McGill curl up, Turkish get ups.

Of course I have only looked here at what would be considered core specific exercises, look at a squat your core muscles work hard to maintain a straight posture, add a weight to that same squat and the core muscles work double time. Y Lunges would be the same and of course the clean and press.

To summarise, training your core muscles is important, not for a flat stomach but for injury prevention and because its an important link in the chain of how your body works.


If its a flat stomach you desire then a focus on good nutrition and big muscle group exercises for maximum calorie expenditure is much more important.

Hope this helps.


P.S. Check out Daves 8 week PT before and after pictures and have a guess how much and what core work we did in that 8 weeks of 2 x 45 minute sessions per week!

The BEST way to Exercise for Fat Loss


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Cardio or Resistance – What works best for Fat Loss?

When it comes to fat loss, most people plan to start on a program of cardio and dieting. Resistance training is just an afterthought – often mentioned as a way to “tone”after the fat is lost. Resistance training, however, can burn just as much, if not more, fat than cardio.

Don’t get me wrong Cardio can shrink you down size wise but it does just that: it reduces both your fat and muscle. You end up smaller but soft. Most people however, want to increase muscle tone while burning off fat.

While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, high rep resistance training has what is known as high EPOC or “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.” This is another way of saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise has finished.

Studies show that a well-designed resistance program can elevate your EPOC/ metabolism for up to 38 hours after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after training stops. Whereas once you stop cardio, the calorie burning stops virtually immediately.

Resistance training coupled with diet and cardio burns fat far more than cardio and diet alone. And guess what its those exact principles that we design our Boot Camp programs on.

Our next Camp starts on 1st June for Mornings and 2nd June for evenings and you can see all the info on session times here http://bodyfixbootcamp.com/find-your-nearest-camp/riccall-boot-camp/