Need some help managing your evening and weekend munchies?


You give me 60 seconds, I’ll give you a bit of education and practical tips….

Q: Why do you have cravings?

A: Simple psychology. Its your sensory reaction to the smell or look of foods which you find particularly palatable and enjoyable. This creates the emotional DESIRE for you to eat (APPETITE) rather than the physical NEED to eat (HUNGER).

Q: Why do you crave starchy or sugary carbs the most?

A: Simple biochemistry. Those types of foods are usually the most available, the most calorie dense and the most easily absorbed by the body. Think instant energy. And think instant happiness/emotional connection from a hit of dopamine too (PLEASURE).

Q: How can you suppress your cravings?

A: Simple actions: -

When a craving hits, take a pause.

Remember the science of why you're craving something.

Ask yourself ‘Am I REALLY hungry or is it just appetite playing tricks on me?’.

Distract your mind and body by drinking a low calorie drink.

Get some fresh air.

Start a new task whether at work or at home.

Get creative and find what works for you!!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To drop a dress or belt size, you need to take in less food/energy than you’re using up.

You need to leave yourself a bit hungry at times.

Try to see this as a good thing and recognise the positive change you're slowly creating.

Awareness of your body and mind is the ONLY true way to get fit and healthy for life.

So don't waste the time you've just invested by reading this post. Take some action.

Practise being mindful. Experiment with your own version of 'The Hunger Games’ (just leave out fighting to the death).

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben

Client stories, episode 5 - Do you struggle to fit in the important stuff?


Eddie was, and still is, a busy guy. Office job. Family. Commuting to work. Trying to exercise. Struggling with his food choices.

I started coaching Eddie and even during our initial calls before he started the programme, he was quick to say he was too busy to get in shape.

Now some people will tell you, if you ‘don’t have time’ for something, then you’re not making it a priority.

Thing is, I’m not convinced that’s necessarily true.

Maybe this thing you dream of achieving - which needs better food choices and regular training - IS important to you. You’re just struggling to find a way of getting them in to your schedule.

Information overload and not having clarity, amongst many other things, is often one of the reasons why making consistent change feels too hard to deal with for people like Eddie.

One of the alternatives, so it would seem, is to spend your well-earned cash on hard and fast weight loss programmes, supplements and fitness gadgets.

But truthfully, your time doesn’t cost anything if its used in the right way. So how did Eddie and I save him some money and find the time he needed to make real change happen?

Answer: He made a list of everything he spent his time on during an average day.

Sounds simple, because it is, but how many people actually make the effort to do something like that?

He then went through that list and decided which things weren’t adding value, weren’t a priority or weren’t absolutely essential.

And lastly, he blacklisted the most useless things. Like limiting his time on social media to 30 minutes per day. Only checking his phone a few times a day. Switching his TV off in the evening, doing a home workouts or food prep and then having a quiet wind down into bed time.

The most powerful solutions are sometimes the simplest. Eddie found a way to make time for the important things he needed to get done. And didn’t feel like he was missing out on as much stuff as he thought he would.

Please like, comment and share this story with family and friends who could do with having more time on their hands for the important things in life.

On your side,
Coach Ben

Hey you! What do YOU need to succeed?


Would love to hear your answers in the comments, Mr/Mrs Action Taker!!

I have a quick exercise for you today which drops in to our coaching programme.

Always interesting to see the responses people come up with. Helps folks see the wood from the tres and focus more on the stuff which they enjoy and suits them best.

Answer these thought provoking statements below: -

> I feel best when I eat...

> Some ideal types of activities for me are...

> For me, an important factor that affects my eating and exercise is...

> My body works best when I...

> One change I could try is...

Good luck!

Be strong, be happy,
Coach Ben

Client stories, episode 4 - Change not restrict


Johnny, the gorilla from Sing, the movie, loved his ice cream. But not just any ice cream.

He went for the more expensive stuff. And always chocolate as a base. Could be chocolate Haagen Dazs. Or Ben and Jerry’s with chocolately swirls and pieces of caramel, marshmallow and all those tasty bits you get.

Chocolate ice cream, in all shapes and sizes, was super tasty and hyper palatable for Johnny. Almost hedonic was the sort of enjoyment he would get.

That would cause him to massively overeat. Particularly on a Friday night. Undoing all of his health and fitness efforts during the working week.

Thing is, not all flavours of ice cream created the same compulsive beast in him.

Madagascan vanilla? Nope. Strawberries and cream? Nope again. He could definitely control himself if a small bowl of those flavours was plonked in front of him.

But he could still get that taste of ice cream. The sugary goodness. The creamy texture. Plus no ‘head freezes’ from eating his chocolate nemesis too quickly!

You see, Johnny had tried removing all ice cream in the past. After all, if a particular food is hedonic to you and holding back your progress, you should remove it, right?

Maybe not. Johnny had been there and done it. Within a few weeks he’d be back on the frozen tubs and beating himself up about it. But changing his ice cream to a different flavour? That was enough to get him firing and achieving his 1% better every day.

So today’s message is to ‘change not restrict’. Telling someone they can’t have something usually makes them want it even more, in my experience.

Want to give this a go yourself? Sit down in a rare moment of silence and write down, on a piece of paper (old school I know!), a list of your hedonic foods. The ones you can’t put down or the foods you turn to first when you’re feeling fed up, beaten down, or sense you’re coming off track.

Then find alternatives to those kryptonite foods which you don’t find quite as palatable. You still like them. But you know you can control yourself.

Now go and buy some of those things on your list and ditch the old stuff. Maybe allowing yourself a spoon or two for the old days before binning them.

This is a great tactic for keeping some of your tasty favourites in your daily food regime whilst still making progress toward your goals.

Becoming the superman or wonderwoman you’ve always wanted to be doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’.

Please like, comment and (most importantly) share this story with family and friends who could do with some tasty tweaks themselves.

On your side,
Coach Ben

Client stories, episode 3 - All or nothing


Ash was a rollercoaster kinda girl. She had spent years on and off eating plans, it was getting quite demotivating for her.

Obviously everyone wants quick results but if something isn’t working for you, how about trying the complete opposite of that thing you’ve already tried multiple times?

So Ash joined my year long coaching programme in the hope of becoming an example to her kids, encouraging an active lifestyle for all the family and maintaining the best possible shape she can.

Here are 5 things we’ve been working on over the past 6 months: -

  1. Practise the basics - Better nutrition is pretty simple when you boil it down, the mind games aspect is much harder to deal with. So keep things simple. Eat more slowly. Try to stop eating when you feel full. Eat less of the calorie dense stuff. Eat more of the nutrient dense choices but experiment with ways to make them tastier (herbs, spices, vinegars). Eat enough protein.
  2. Catch yourself - When things start to slip (which they will, that’s life!), have a trigger point to break that spiral. Like your jeans feeling tighter. Not exercising for 3 days in a row. Mindfulness can be learnt - it’s a skill. Create your own trigger points to snap you back in to action when ‘enough is enough’. Another great tactic is to focus on your ‘minimum exercise’ and ‘maximum food amounts’ when things are busy to help maintain what you have.
  3. Enjoy what you’re doing - Quite simply do more of the stuff you enjoy and be selective about the things you don’t. Do you like walking with family? Do more. Prefer lifting heavy weights? Do that. Swimming feels manageable? Do extra lengths. Life is too short to be slogging it out for an hour on the treadmill 3 times a week.
  4. Have lower expectations of yourself - Honestly, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Social media doesn’t help. Feeling like you’re inadequate compared to what’s in your news feed is a slippery slope. You are you. All any of us can do is hope to become the best version of ourselves. With no regrets.
  5. Success breeds success - Create short-term targets and things to aim for. I can guarantee you, making immediate progress towards your goals within 2 weeks of making changes will motivate you to carry on. Giving regular high fives to yourself, or better still receiving compliments from others, will keep that fire burning.

And Ash wasn’t alone. It was the same for Mike. Although he started with some superficial goals (we all want to lose a few pounds, right?!?), what he really wanted to achieve was a feeling of being strong in body and in mind.

So he’s focused on his running right now which is his main way to relax. And all the things he needs to do to make his running as enjoyable and plain sailing as possible. Like eating better. Trying some strength training. Hitting personal bests every month really helps!!

None of these things I’ve talked about are revolutionary. None are fads. None are crazy. They just work. And help sustainability. And are more enjoyable along the way.

Please like, comment and (most importantly) share these stories with family and friends who could do with getting off the rollercoaster.

Here for you,
Coach Ben

Client stories, episode 2 - Break the snacking loop


Buster Moon was a snacking monster. Forgot to mention, I’m still using characters from ‘Sing’ in this month’s real life client headaches series to protect the innocent….

With a bit of client and coach digging, Buster shared that snacking had most likely held back his progress in trying to get in shape over recent years.

And probably got him in to the situation he found himself in when we started working together.

One of the biggest issues with snacking for most is the automatic nature of the behaviour. It’s often something that’s been done for years and without really thinking about it.

You’re on the sofa. Watching TV. There’s something within reaching distance which is tasty. Usually higher in fat and carbs because that’s where the hyper-palatable magic is. Things get polished off before you realise. And you’re left wanting more.

But Buster had some glimmers of light. He didn’t snack every evening. He didn’t snack when he was busy or out doing his favourite hobby to switch off and tune out....running.....that would just be messy!

There was no point relying on Buster’s willpower which would often be drained by the evening thanks to all of the decisions he’d been making the rest of the day. Sound familiar?

After reviewing a few options, we agreed to try finding ways of keeping Buster occupied on his non-busy and non-running nights. Change the environment, change the behaviour.

But you can’t just switch that kinda stuff on. So we set what’s known as an action trigger, for a certain day and time when I would message Buster to remind him to do a certain activity he had already decided upon.

The sequence of events happened like clockwork. He did his task, occupied himself through his usual ‘danger zone’ in the evening and subsequently avoided the snacking loop pitfall that day.

We did this for a number of days until Buster felt comfortable that he could go at it alone and make those positive behaviour changes stick.

And since then, Buster has been able to beat his snacking demons. It took him about two weeks from start to finish.

That’s not to say that he never snacks. But when he does, he’s far more mindful of what’s taking place and why. He can manage his overall intake whilst still enjoying the foods he likes.

Are you a Buster and struggle with snacking too? But do you also have moments of light when its easier to cope?

Maybe this same strategy could work for you….go on….try it… might have the same success as Buster!!

Please like, comment and (mostly importantly) share these stories with family and friends who could do with banishing their snacking demons too.

On your side,
Coach Ben

Client stories, episode 1 - Make failure impossible


I’m going to kick off this month’s stories series with a personal one of a change we’ve made at home. And then show how my clients are using the same strategy to get stuff done.

To protect identities, as some of these stories could get personal, I’m going to use characters from the film ‘Sing’. It’s my daughter’s favourite at the moment and on constant repeat.

Truth be told, my wife and I can be a little forgetful at times. Maybe its not forgetfulness. Maybe its just being so overwhelmed with things to remember and do, we get distracted.

How many times have you thought to yourself, ‘I must remember to do X’ and only two minutes later have forgotten what that life changing thing you must do even was. We’ve all been there.

We were really good at making sure our almost two year old son’s morning milk had his multi-vitamin liquid shaken in to it. We were bossing it, doing it every day, no matter what.

Then we finished the bottle. Forgot to buy another one for a bit. And when we finally did, somehow struggled to get back in to our good habit, even though we’d done it so well before.

It was time for a change. And rather than rely on our memory and willpower to get it done, we decided to change the situation and environment to almost guarantee it would get done.

Super simple. Probably too simple. We moved the vitamin bottle and clean spoons (plus my almost four year old daughter’s multi-vitamin jellies) next to the microwave. His milk would come from the fridge, get heated up a bit then drunk within a nano second.

All we were really doing here was putting another small step in the process. And making sure everything we needed was within reaching distance. And front of mind.

Sometimes all you need to do is bring the stuff you need to do toward the front of your brain. Thrust it in to your consciousness. Becoming more mindful about it, making it impossible to avoid seeing or doing it.

Since that change, he’s had his vitamin liquid every day. And our daughter has had her daily dose as well. Win win.

And there are plenty of other ways I’ve seen this strategy work with clients too.

Rosita wanted to increase the amount of water she was drinking every day, beyond just tea and coffee. And the goal was reasonably modest at 750ml but for her, that was stretching enough for where she was right now.

Trouble was, she was struggling to get it done. And similar to our example, her busy days of working and looking after her daughter were getting ahead of her.

So we agreed to change the situation to make the difficult much easier. Rosita knew that one of the first things she did in the morning was put the kettle on for a cup of tea. So really there was no better time, whilst the kettle was boiling, to quickly fill an empty glass, which was sitting next to the kettle with a reminder on it to ‘fill and drink’. Within the first 20 minutes of waking in the morning, she was already half way to her daily goal.

Meena was also struggling to find the motivation to get to the gym, often finding excuses to put off her session. But she knew that taking her gym kit to work and having everything set and ready to go gave her a much greater change of getting it done.

So she made a conscious effort, with a strategic reminder in her phone calendar every evening, to pack her gym kit and have it by the door ready to pick up and go in the morning. Meena changed her environment to remove an excuse and create a powerful action trigger to get herself one step closer to the gym, consistently.

Making changes, particularly life-extending ones, can be very daunting and feel enormous if taken at face value. As soon as you can start breaking that mountain down in to smaller leisurely hills and finding ways to tip the situation in your favour, you’ll be giving yourself an awesome chance of success.

Please like, comment and (mostly importantly) share these stories with family and friends who could do with making failure impossible.

I’ve got your back,
Coach Ben

6 tips for dealing with the day after the night before….


You had your work’s do last night. You were the life and soul of the party. The one person who made a fool of themselves (there’s always one), dancing on tables, knocking over drinks, found talking to yourself in the loo….

That damage has been done. But there’s still time to dust yourself down and keep the wheels on your health and fitness goals.

So here are my top tips for dealing with the physical craziness and getting you back to fighting fit as quickly as possible: -

1. Forgive and forget – There is absolutely no point dwelling on the past. What's done is done. Move on, get on with life, jump back in to your normal routines TODAY.

2. Hydrate yourself NOW – If you put out a glass for water and electrolytes yesterday having read part 1 of this post, drink it. And another if you can stomach it.

3. Eat that meal you prepared too - Don't fancy it for breakfast, try for mid-morning or lunchtime at the latest. The race is on to get nutrients back in to that wonderful body of yours.

4. Balance for the week - If you know you've overconsumed, best to reduce your intake slightly today to start making up for it. It's ok, a bit of hunger won't kill you. See it as a game, experiment with it, see how long you can last out between each meals and put off eating until you're at least 8 out of 10 on the hunger scale (10 being the hungriest you've ever been).

5. Enter planning mode – Another social coming up soon? Go back and read part 1 again. Apply that stuff. Get these post-party tips under your belt too. And start the process again.

6. Reflect and make small changes - What went well last night with what you chose to eat and drink? What didn't? What happened just before you decided to overeat or said to yourself 'what the hell'? Failure is information, data, feedback - nothing more than that. Don't dwell on what could have been. You made certain choices for a reason. Discover what those reasons were and come up with a plan to combat your thought demons in the future. It would be criminal to make the same mistake twice, right?

Having a number of events a week at this time before Christmas isn't unusual. My tips for pre and post party time can be repeated as much as you need them. And sneak some sleep and feet up time whenever you can, you won’t regret it.

No point being a fun sponge this time of year. I have a lot of great memories (albeit a bit hazy) from holiday season socials and life is just too short to be a little restrictive all the time.

And as with so many things, you've just got to find what works for you and your own definition of balance.

Good luck between now and the New Year and if you have questions or need more help, always feel free to contact me.

On your side,
Coach Ben

6 tactics to avoid guilt ridden celebrations


This week and next are big ones for work parties and socials. And no one wants to be a fun sponge this time of year!!

Naturally you’ll want to enjoy yourself but may also be worried about taking a step backwards on your health journey.

Luckily there are plenty of things you can do between now and then to reduce the pain/guilt you might be expecting.

Here are my top tips for the days before (in time order) to help you to find a happy place between fun and focus: -

1. Prepare for the aftermath - Have a meal packed full of nutrients, lean protein and smart carbs ready for the morning when you wake up or for lunch at the latest. The sooner you start getting good things in to your system post binge, the better. Try not to prolong the damage!

2. Lower calories during the two days before - Christmas meals and drinks can force people in to autopilot mode, mindless behaviours and overconsumption. So aim for a maintenance level of calories over the entire week.

3. Increase physical training - Burn more calories than usual to help offset the event's excesses. And doing something you're not used to will burn even more energy.

4. Lower your carbs - Festive celebrations usually have a bias towards higher carb content so tweaking things down elsewhere should help manage your overall intake.

5. Drink a pint or two of water before you go out - This will help you feel fuller straight away and reduce the speed at which you eat and drink later on. Worst case? You'll be well hydrated for the evening's dancing antics!

6. Empty glass and electrolytes - Put out a glass and your choice of nutrient rich tablet to aid rehydration. That could be at home, in your desk drawer, wherever you can get to it and start refuelling yourself. Getting it done before going to bed would be the best option but not always possible.

Look out for part 2 tomorrow for ideas on the day after the night before and how to get yourself back on form ASAP.

On your side,
Coach Ben

How to release your inner adult and get down to business....


Are you someone who barters with themselves? Do you make deals or trade-offs when it comes to food?

I used to. Saying things like….’Ok, I’m going to pass on this BIG desert right now, but when I get to the weekend, that’s when I’m going to treat myself, BIG time’.

With this mindset, you’re convincing yourself that this one ‘good choice’ now gives you reason to make a ‘bad choice’ another time.

I probably did this for years in some kind of blur and most of the time, especially in my early twenties when I was super active, I got away with it.

But as life goes on, this game of give and take rarely pays off.

Most of the time you end up playing a constant game of mental gymnastics, trying to remember if you’re ‘up’ or ‘down’ in favours to yourself which ultimately helps you avoid making tough decisions… other words, continue to overeat.

In its simplest form, WE’RE ALL ADULTS. Combating ‘good’ against ‘bad’ is for kids and superhero stories.

When it comes to better nutrition and reaching your health goals, you’re the one who is in control.

Mind games can undermine those goals. And your authority over your own decision making powers.

My number one solution is to START OWNING YOUR CHOICES. Which is what I did.

I let my adult self come to the table when sitting down to eat. And I would repeatedly remind myself of my deep principles and values.

Truthfully, when I did that, I went through a period of mourning. The cold hard truth that I’m the only one who can make this different. That my actions in the past were stopping me from reaching where I wanted to be. For myself. For my wife. For our two young children.

If you can start doing that, I believe you’ll be able to make food choices based on the outcomes you desire. And most powerfully, you’ll acknowledge the decisions you’re making, both better and worse.

That internal discussion with yourself could be……

‘I’m choosing to eat this tub of ice cream on Saturday night. Based on how I’ve felt in the past, I’m likely to feel stuffed, sluggish and guilty afterwards, but at this precise moment, I’m ok with that.’

Bottomline: Own your choices - don’t moralise over them by juggling good with bad. You’re completely free to eat and drink whatever you want. You choose your behaviour.

Different choices produce different outcomes. That’s all.

If you need help with releasing your inner adult like I did, get in touch with me.

P.S. - This post was inspired by the leaders at Precision Nutrition so a big shout out to them. Keep fighting the fight!

On your side,
Coach Ben

A video, a free download and some words of warning....

CLICK HERE to watch a video on putting these 5 breakfast ideas together

FREE E1N SUPER SHAKE GUIDE available HERE as well - grab your copy now (no email needed)!

If you know some of the principles we stand for here at E1N, you’ll have discovered that one of the biggest improvements you can make to your breakfast routine is to ditch the daily overflowing bowl of cereal and start replacing it with more balanced and higher protein options.

So this week’s video share from Goodful gives you some ideas for just that.

But first a few words of caution from the nutrition police: -

> Healthy or higher protein doesn’t mean you can eat more - With these alternatives, the overall calories you’re consuming at breakfast are likely to remain exactly the same, if not be slightly higher, compared to your cereal and milk.

But it’s the source of those calories (from protein and healthy balanced fats) which is the most important thing. And that will have the biggest influence on your cravings for the rest of the morning and even during the whole day if you’re really lucky.

> Protein shakes - The biggest hurdle I see our community members running in to is going OTT on fruit portions in their shakes and this video is no exception! Unless you’re having a breakfast shake after training and you’re already getting towards the health and physique you want, then be mindful of the fruit and sugar carb content of your daily shake.

That’s not because fruit or sugar is bad for you. But like anything, too much isn’t necessarily a good thing. A cupped handful of fruit is a good starting point for most people.

> Cooking oils - The choice of fat you use to cook your protein pancakes in is of course entirely up to you and your taste buds! But if you want to sneak out some calories, I would definitely recommend having a good non-stick pan and wiping away excess fat with some kitchen towel if you can.

> Toppings galore - In the spirit of being ‘mindful’ about what we eat and trying to switch off our autopilot eating tendencies, pay attention to what you put on top of your protein pancakes or other breakfast choices. It’s way too easy nowadays to quickly undo all of those better ingredient choices by slapping on additional fruits, golden syrup and other calorie dense options.

Don’t forget to DOWNLOAD your super shake guide (CLICK HERE TO DO THAT NOW).

And if you’ve got any questions or comments, pop them below as well.

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben

Whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP

Sometimes you pull out all the stops. You do more exercise. You eat less of the tasty stuff. You eat more of the nutritious stuff we all know we’re supposed to eat.

But despite all of that……the scales don’t move at your regular weigh-in time.

Fear not. All is not lost. Far from it in fact.

So whilst your first reaction is probably to stuff your face, because frankly ‘WHAT’S THE POINT!’….

Here are 10 signs to focus on which show you’re improving your health and wellbeing for the long term. And actually, still on track: -

1. You’re getting fitter/stronger

2. You’re more energetic

3. You’re in a better mood

4. Your clothes fit better

5. You’re not as hungry between meals

6. You feel more confident

7. You have fewer sick days

8. Your sleep has improved

9. Your ‘diet’ doesn’t feel like a chore

10. You are happier

Please share this list with someone you care about. Maybe someone who can be too focused on just weigh-ins.

We’re stronger and happier together!

On your side,
Coach Ben

Do you step on the scales and wonder why you bother?

You know what, you may actually be progressing more than that single number tells you....all is not what it seems!

That number your scales give you every week (or every few days if you're a regularly weigher), can be misleading for all sorts of reasons.

Here are 5 factors as to why your scales might be lying to you: -

  1. Carbs and muscle glycogen - To help your body respond to day to day life, you hold energy in the form of carbs (known as glycogen) in your muscles. The amount you hold can go up and down pretty rapidly depending on how much you're exercising and how much/what you’re eating.
  2. Water and muscle glycogen - A double whammy thanks to those extra carbs you've eaten. For every gramme of glycogen you add to your muscles (the average person can store 350-500g total), you also retain 3g of water. So if you eat a high carb meal the night before weighing yourself, it's completely normal and correct that you could weigh a pound or more the next day.
  3. Waste products - Foods can take various amounts of time to work their way through your system depending on all sorts of things like gender, age and also the types of things you’re eating. So if you’ve gone more crazy than usual on meat and fish for a few days, don’t be expecting your scales to be falling off a cliff....not for a few days at least! Diuretics like tea and coffee can also cause you to release water (or not if your consumption has lowered for some reason), so that’s yet another thing to be aware of.
  4. Hormones - Intra-month fluctuations can affect water retention, estrogen and progesterone being two big examples for female readers.
  5. Inflammation from training - Exercise, particularly intense resistance training, can cause muscle damage which in many ways is needed to help you adapt and progress. Trouble is, this also causes water retention to help the healing process. So stepping things up slowly will help you avoid excessive and unwanted (albeit temporary) weight gain.

These are just 5 of the many reasons why using simply scale weight can lead you down a deep and dark path to disappointment.

So what else can you focus on other than the scales? Tomorrow I’m going to give you 10 ways to see progress, even if that number between your feet isn’t shifting.

Here for you,
Coach Ben

If you want to be strong and add a little muscle, this is for you....

You may think I'm nuts for writing this.

It's probably the complete opposite to what you think you need to do, have read on the internet or been told to do in the past by a trainer.

But when you boil it down to how your body actually works and the skills you’ll need for lifelong victory over your waistline, these 5 reasons make complete sense.

So if you're not already a leany meany, here are my top benefits for greater strength and muscle gain by getting slim first: -

1. Learn your personal blueprint - By slimming down, you'll find out what a suitable calorie deficit looks and feels like for you.

Everyone is unique. What works for a friend might not for you. Knowing this piece of gold means you can switch back to 'slim mode' at any point, should you need to.

2. Improved insulin sensitivity - The slimmer you are, the greater your ability to use nutrients effectively (particularly carbohydrates). Being strong and having an athletic physique requires carbs and energy.

But pumping more carbs in to a poorly functioning system is like continuing to fill your car with petrol when it's already full. That fuel has to go somewhere. And if it's not all over your feet, then it's probably going to hit your hips and waist band.

3. Put yourself in to reverse - Once you've got yourself to a point of being lean and mean, you can slowly back up your diet by steadily increasing your overall food intake from a deficit, through to a maintenance level and finally in to a sufficient calorie excess.

Again, this is a learning process. There are no prizes for rushing your progress. Short term trade-offs in exchange for long term success is the name of the game.

4. Breathing room - Sitting in a calorie excess for a period of time is going to cause at least some non-muscle weight gain.

So starting from a point of slimness when you increase your intake for muscle growth is giving yourself a head start and more wriggle room.

5. Consistency my friend - The regular training you'll need to help achieve a slim figure will put you in a great routine and positive mindset for the consistent AND progressive exercise you'll need for growing muscle.

It's a longer road to growth than it is to slim down. Enjoying whatever you're doing to fuel your growth is vital.

So in your search for strength and size, are you going to play the long game and learn about yourself along the way?

Trying the opposite of what's gone before can have miraculous results. You've just got to take that leap and believe in the process. And yourself.

Committed to your success,
Coach Ben

Are you a secret calorie creeper?

To celebrate Halloween and all things ‘creepy’, I’ve put together a list of classic things people do (often without realising it), which could also be stopping you from progressing towards your figure and happiness goals by consuming too much energy (aka Calorie Creep). Calories stated are rough estimates and they're probably on the low side: -

1. Milky tea because that's the way you have it (+25 calories)

2. Having 2 biscuits with your tea instead of one because that's what you've always done (+50 calories)

3. Licking the knife after spreading butter and other toppings on your toast because you hate waste and want less washing up!! (+35 calories)

4. Going crazy with the peanut butter because it’s ‘healthy fat’ and is a better option than jam (+100 calories)

5. Eating the leftovers from a bowl of cake mix because it tastes sooooo good! (+100 calories)

6. Covering your salad in mayo, because it's the ‘light’ version (+50 calories)

7. Having a handful of nuts rather than a thumb sized portion or two, because they're ‘healthy fats’ (+100 calories)

8. Cooking your scrambled eggs/omelette in a big chunk of butter, because eggs have loads of fat in them anyway, right?!? (+75 calories)

9. Covering your plate in sweet potato fries, because they're a better choice carb (+150 calories)

10. Having 3 pieces of garlic bread with your pizza instead of 2, because you wanted it (+90 calories)

How many of these do you do without realising it?

Let me know in the comments below and please share this with a close friend to help them increase their awareness too. We're stronger together!!

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben

My story and why right now I’m focused on just two high impact behaviours

Some of you know why and how I got in to coaching. Others might not.

Long story short, I was overweight at 6 foot 1 and 116kg / over 18 stone / 255lbs, lacking energy and motivation, was fed up with feeling like I wasn't going anywhere, had the prospect of getting married ahead of me and wanted to start a family.

Fast forward 2 and bit years and I'd managed to drop 30kg of body fat, had a 9 month old baby girl and had rediscovered my mojo.

The trouble is, that's never the end of the story.

I've found that even though I know how to get in shape and can switch it on when I put my mind to it (lucky me I know), it's still a struggle to stay that way all year round. So please trust me when I say I know where some of you guys and girls are coming from. And that's whether you're just getting started on this 'journey' or you've been on it and fallen off so many times you can't remember!

Over the past year I've learnt that there are two things in particular which keep me progressing and will take me to where I want to be. If I do these two things, everything else seems to fall in place.

The first is getting my buttocks to the gym 3 times a week for 45 minutes and training hard. Twice a week is borderline, once a week and I struggle to give a damn.

The second is consistently saying to myself (at every opportunity to eat or drink), does this fit with my aim right now, can I squeeze this in with all the other stuff I've eaten today and do I REALLY need this?

I firmly believe this 'mindfulness' which everyone talks about, is a learnt skill. It doesn't just arrive one day by magic.

It takes practise and dedication to get there. BUT, it's the key to feeling, looking and performing better without counting calories, syns, points, having overly restrictive eating behaviours, yoyo dieting, and so on. SO ITS WORTH BECOMING A MASTER OF YOUR MIND, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.

Practical ways to fine tune your 'mindfulness' skills include eating slowly, eating to 80% full, noticing and naming, body scans, behaviour awareness exercises around meal times, hunger games, keeping a daily journal, generally reflecting on what you do and why that might be…….if you’re a coaching client, does any of this sound familiar?!?

Rather than continue to bang on about me, I'll ask you right now - WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL TWO THINGS WHICH YOU THINK DO, OR COULD, GET YOU MARCHING TOWARDS YOUR GOALS?

Find those two things which keep you moving forward and then spend most of your time and attention on them. All the other noise really doesn’t matter.

ANSWERS ON A DIGITAL POSTCARD BELOW IN THE COMMENTS PLEASE. Keen to hear what you adventurers think could change your lives right now and keep yourselves in that place for the rest of your happy crazy lives!!

Hope you're having a good week. Be strong. Be healthy. Be happy.

Coach Ben

The truth behind 'low carb' bars

I recently put out a picture of some protein bars and invited comments as to what people thought of them.

Feelings were mixed and ranged from being a very handy option (especially if you’re in a pinch and can’t get to real food) through to too many ingredients, synthetic tasting and generally steer clear. 

Honestly, there are no right or wrong answers. Just like there really aren't any 'good' or 'bad' foods.....just better to worse decisions along a continuum.

But I want to draw your attention to this concept of 'net carbs' or ‘impact carbs’. What are they? Are they naturally occurring and ‘healthy’? Should you be concerned about them?

I wouldn’t be overly worried about the bars themselves. But what I do take issue with is how manufacturers and marketing teams are deceiving you in to making a choice which you think is a better one.

You’ll know that carbs come in a few forms. The simple creatures which are formed of one or two sugar molecules like honey and fruit. Complex carbs having more than two sugar units joined together and found in grains and starches like sweet potato, rice and oats.

And then you have fibre and polyols. Wait. Polyols? Huh?!? They’re sweeteners, are processed in a similar way to fibre, are naturally occurring in some foods but the protein bar versions have been modified in the lab to make them harder to break down in the gut. Hence you’ll be told they create less or no blood sugar/insulin spike. Hence the name, ‘low impact carbs’.

So ‘net / impact carbs’ are total carbs minus the ones which can only be partially broken down and absorbed, or not at all. Those include fibre and polyols.

The trouble is, research isn't conclusive on what affect these polyols actually have on blood sugar/insulin. The real bodily response could be much higher than what the manufacturers are implying or can get away with through trading standards. And of course every person will respond to them differently….just to make things harder to understand.

The next time you pick up your low carb protein bar or sugar free sweets, take a look at the ingredients and see if any of the common polyols like Isomalt, Maltitol or Sorbitol are on the list. You might be surprised what you find!

Here are some quick pointers to consider: -

  1. Be inquisitive - What are you actually eating? If you don't fully understand what's in something, do a bit of research to help you make a more informed decision.
  2. Protein bars aren't bad for you - Scientific evidence might not be there but it's also not there to say you should definitely avoid them. Depending on your goals, food preferences, tastes and all sorts of other things which are personal to you, having a low ‘net carbs' bar occasionally isn't going to throw you off track.
  3. Life is about trade-offs - Ask yourself, is it worth it for you to buy bars which have fewer modified ingredients or even make your own at home from whole and largely unprocessed foods? Answering that kind of question quickly helps you work out where your priorities are.
  4. Be aware of extra sugar cravings - When consuming reduced sugar products, some people then crave additional feel good carbs so watch out for those signs to avoid overeating.
  5. And just like the Carb Killa packaging says, if you eat too many protein bars, you might be spending a lot of time on the loo!!

Does this change what you think about some of the protein bars and marketing ploys out there? As long as you feel even a bit more educated, that's a win as far as I'm concerned.

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben

A look inside the E1N coaching programme

Here’s a quick glimpse in to the life-changing experience I’m taking our latest group of Team E1N members through right now. Try this example daily lesson for yourself and release your inner superhero!

> Nothing succeeds like success <

Earlier this week, I showed you that even “experts” aren’t always motivated — and that’s OK.

I shared 3 “expert tips” on getting through The Grind, aka the Three Ss:

  1. Structure,
  2. Systems, and
  3. Scheduling.

Today, I’ll introduce you to three more Ss that keep you motivated:

  1. Satisfaction,
  2. Success, and
  3. Strengths.

>  Satisfaction<

Remember our lesson on measuring progress? Think back now to all the indicators that you considered important.

Make a quick list of all the things you’ve improved.

For instance:

  • Do you feel better now than you did on your first day?
  • Do you walk taller, more confidently?
  • Do you make better choices?
  • Have you found your mojo?
  • Are your clothes fitting better?
  • Are you stronger?

Review your list. Take a moment to feel good about each one of these things. You did that.

It’s important for us to recognise and reward ourselves. To focus on what we’ve done well. And to stop occasionally, turn around, and look behind us.

Give yourself a high-five for what you’ve done so far. Feel satisfied. Feel proud. Then use this list as inspiration to keep climbing.

>  Success<

With our coaching programme, I use what’s called a growth mindset.

That means as far as I’m concerned, you’re a diamond in the rough. All it takes is a few habits and lots of practice to polish you up.

To succeed, you don’t have to be “special” or “genetically gifted” or “talented.”

You need to work hard, be consistent, stay positive, and just keep showing up.

Sure, I encourage you to tackle your difficult-difficult challenges and fears. I help you find and address your limiting factors.

But I focus mostly on what you’re doing right. On what you can do. Will do. Have, in fact, already done.

For example - If you’ve successfully cooked three new protein- and veggie-rich dishes, that’s great. Now I know you can follow a recipe — so let’s add two more.

We can use your success as a foundation to build motivation. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. So ask yourself:

  • In what ways have I succeeded so far?
  • How can I help myself do more of that?

>  Strengths<

If you’re like most of us, focusing on your "weaknesses", "flaws", and "errors" isn’t very inspiring.

Let’s say that you want to be really good at something. Maybe you want to be an excellent tennis player. How do you do that?

Well, you could identify all the ways you are bad at something, and then work on those. You could hire a trainer to point out all your technique flaws, and work on each one.

That seems logical. After all, it’s the way that most folks approach self-improvement. But in fact, focusing exclusively on your “weaknesses” is not the most effective way to improve or to stay inspired.

Research shows that we do much better — and stay motivated — when we do the following:

  • Identify what IS working, and do more of that
  • Find our strengths, and figure out how to make them work for us
  • Find people who are strong and successful in this area, and imitate them

So, for instance, you could:

  • Identify what is good about your tennis game, and try to do more of it
  • Find what makes your tennis game strong, and develop those abilities
  • Look at other top tennis players who faced and overcame similar challenges — then use those techniques in your own game

When you walk on to that court, you can say to yourself, “I am going to serve that ball into the next dimension,” instead of “Boy, I hope that nobody notices I can’t do a backhand.”

Ask yourself:

  • When it comes to this coaching programme, where are my strengths?
  • How can I develop them even further?

After reviewing your successes and strengths, and what achievements make you feel satisfied, you might even discover one more S (and one more “inner team” member): Your inner SUPERHERO.

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben
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Do you take flights of up to 3 hours regularly? This is for you....

As a regular flyer across Europe and having just caught flights to/from Zurich in the past 24 hours, here are my biggest suggestions to stay in control whilst travelling: -

1. Hunger or dehydration? - Feeling hungry on a flight can often just be dehydration with the air conditioning whirling away over your head. A low calorie drink before you fly and then taking water onboard to sip is a great strategy.

2. Timing is everything - Where does your flight fit in to your normal meal schedule? If it's between meals, you're good to go. If flying during breakfast, lunch or dinner time (assuming you follow those meal times) you'll need to be mindful of your physical hunger versus craving signs and come up with a plan to counter them.

3. Eat then fly - Given the choice, I prefer to have something in advance of a 1-3 hour flight. It will help you feel full, do productive things and avoid the appetite that come with being presented with meal/snack choices at 35,000 feet with nowhere to run!

4. Control your hands - If you've eaten before or decided to wait until after your journey, stick with your choice. It's easy to go on autopilot when sat in a chair and having food and drink options brought to you. So don’t raise your hand, just pass. Simple as that. Tough love I know but that's because I care!

5. Keep your mind busy - A positively focused/distracted brain finds it harder to crave the foods it thinks your body might need. So work through that to-do-list you never get to, listen to music, develop yourself through reading an engaging book, watch something entertaining, sleep! Whatever you choose, become engrossed in to and continue to sip your water....unless you're sleep (messy disaster).

Wishing you safe and healthy travels,
Coach Ben

Here's a simple trick you can follow to get hard stuff done every time

Do you struggle to find time to do certain things? Meal schedules for the week. Doing exercise you've been putting off. Cracking your snacking habit. You’re not alone - a lot of this doesn't come easily to most people.

Through my coaching, I come across resistance in many forms. And it's often not the case that somebody doesn't want to change whatever they're doing....they're just unsure of where to start.

So I use an ’action trigger' to help someone move forward and you can follow these 5 steps to create one for yourself: -

1. Think 'shrink' - For example, if going for a first run in a long time sounds daunting or you're putting it off, try to forget about the run itself. How does simply getting your running gear out the night before sound? If you want to run first thing, how about keeping your trainers by your bed so you can put them on right away when you wake up? Chances are, if you've taken the effort to put your running stuff on then you'll at least make it out of the front door. Hopefully you get the idea - make things so simple, it’s difficult to get them wrong.

2. Set a date - This new thing you’re going to try, when are you going to do it? Decide on a day sometime soon - in fact, if it's important to you then the sooner the better.

3. Set a time - On that day you’ve just chosen, when exactly are you going to do it? Decide on a time that’s most likely going to work for you.

4. Define your action - Now fill in this blank to describe the thing you're going to do on your chosen day and time: 'You're going to ________’. Evidence suggests that when you refer to yourself this way (like saying ‘you are’ as if talking to yourself), there's a greater chance of you doing that thing, rather than saying 'I am'.

5. Book it in and remind yourself - Things which you book yourself in for have a better success rate. So put your appointment with yourself in your diary/schedule, set a reminder on your phone, add it to whatever you use to manage your time. Title your appointment ‘You're going to________’ as your personal call to action.

If you can get yourself in to this routine of breaking things down in to strategic steps and booking time with yourself, you’ll be halfway to success already. Action takers get their important stuff done. Fact.

So what have you got to lose? Give it a go and let me know how you get on. Would love to hear about your new superpowers!!

Committed to your health,
Coach Ben