Eating out can be a tricky situation for many people, so I’ve got 2 simple tips to help you out.
Food is more than just calories and macros, it’s more than simply fuel for activity. It’s social, it’s cultural, it’s fun and it’s community. Missing out on good food with good company for the worry of taking in extra calories and what that might mean to your waistline would be a mistake. We’re unlikely to look back on previous years to celebrate our measurements or what we weighed on any specific date in our past, but we are more likely to look back at the memories made around our meals with friends and family.
That being said, many of us have body composition goals that are important and we want to try to fit meals out into our plan for achieving them. So here are 2 tips, (well, one reminder and one tip) to help you out.
- One meal where you go way over your calories will not affect your fat levels much at all. Fat gain is caused by consistently eating above your caloric needs over a long period of time. Having one meal that puts you over your target by 1000 kcals only increases your daily average by around 140 kcals. This only becomes an issue if you do this regularly and are consistently over eating. So if you have a big celebration to go to, don’t overthink the meal, enjoy it and get back on track the next day.
- If you do want to moderate your food intake at a meal out, there’s a simple strategy you can use. It’s called 2/4. Consider a typical meal out, you have a starter, a main, a dessert and drinks as options to enjoy. Simply choose 2 out of the 4 options for your enjoyment. It may be a starter and dessert, or a main and a drink (or 2), or any other combination of the 4 you could have. That way you can enjoy some tasty food, maintain your progress and make some awesome memories while you do it.
Three tips to help you get more out of your training sessions…
- Focus on progressive overload. In order to get stronger or add a little more lean mass you have to apply enough stress to your system in order for it to adapt up via increased strength or more muscle fibres. You have to add weight to your lifts, or add a few more reps or an extra set.
- In order to apply progressive overload, you need a plan to stick to. If you are constantly program hopping, jumping from exercise to exercise without any consistency doesn’t lend itself to pushing your performance. Granted you need a little variety in your training but you only need to progress your exercise selection and adjust your sets and reps every 4-6 weeks, after you’ve milked all you can from your current block. Find a plan, stay on track long enough to make a little progress, then move it along.
- Stop wasting time. Between sets it can be tempting to give yourself too much recovery time. This increases the length of your session and reducing the potential benefits you might get. You need enough time to recover to make sure you can repeat your efforts from one set to the next, (or get close to it), but it is often less than you might think. Generally, 90-120 seconds between sets of 8-15 reps per set is more than enough to get the job done. This would increase to 2-3 minutes for sets of 3-6 reps. No-one ever programs sets of 7 so don’t worry about that… This increases the effectiveness of the sets, increases the calorie burn both via effort and during recovery, and reduces the time needed to complete your sessions.
Here’s a simple stretch to help you target the hip flexors and glutes in one move.
Starting in a half kneeling position, make sure you tuck your hips under, pulling your waist band towards your belly button, squeeze the glute on the down leg side to maintain this position. Then ease forward to get the stretch in your quad and hip flexor. You’ll know you’re getting the hip flexor when you feel a stretch running down the inside of the midline of your leg. Hold this for a count of 5-10 seconds.
Then keeping your down knee in place, cross your other leg over and back and drop into a pigeon stretch. Adjust your position to get a good stretch in your glute. Due to the varying hip structures we all have you’re going to have to move around a little to find the best position for you. Again, hold for 5-10s per side and repeat for 3-5 times per side.