Personal trainer tips: Why meal plans never work...

Meal plans – Love them or hate them?

As personal trainers who specialise in fat loss, it’s our duty to give our clients the best nutrition advice we can to help them achieve their goals. Nutrition must 100% be addressed. Therefore, people will often ask us to give them a meal plan to follow in order to do just that. But after years of experience, and trial and error of working with different people, it’s become very apparent that quite simply:

MEAL PLANS DON’T WORK.

Even though you may think it will be simpler if someone just told you exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the reality is that in today’s world, this simply isn’t realistic.

One Size Fits All

I’ve lost count of the number of times my social media accounts have shown me ’30 day meal plans’ to buy online, promising unbelievable fat loss results for £20. Or the latest reality TV show star has brought out a DVD accompanied by her ’21 Day Fat Burning Meals’. The issue is not that these plans won’t get you good results if you manage to follow them. The issue is: what do you do after the 30 days are over? What if you don’t have 3 hours every day to spend preparing food? What if you don’t even like the foods in their plan? You give up, feel annoyed at yourself to failing to stick to the plan, and go back to what you were doing before, which was far easier and more sustainable.

Structured flexibility

Now here comes a different approach! We call it ‘structured flexibility.’ Straight-forward, no-nonsense guidelines which you can follow and tailor to fit within your lifestyle, so you learn what works for your unique body, and find a way of eating which you can sustain forever. Here’s a snap shot in to the simple structure we give our clients to get flexible with.

  • Eat lean protein at every meal (meat, eggs, fish)

  • Eat vegetables at every meal (we have a list of unlimited low carb veg)

  • Eat fruit whenever you want (we have a list of unlimited low sugar fruit)

  • Limit your bites of starchy foods like rice, potato and oats to 5-10 bites at each meal (counting ‘bites’ means no need for weighing anything!)

  • Add a small amount of healthy fat to your meals (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil)

  • Eat between 3-6 times per day (whatever works for you)

You then assess your results, investigate what can be improved, and modify as you go along. Everyone is different and ‘one size fits all’ plans are history. We say, listen to your body and learn your own way.

For more information on being a food detective and not a dieter, head to our Facebook page to learn more, with daily tips and advice from our personal trainers.

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