Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Many of us were brought up to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A parental reminder generally came before a bowl of sugary cereal, some burnt toast and a glass of orange juice!

So, is breakfast the most important meal of the day? And what happens to those who skip it??

A recent study of 38 lean individuals over 6 weeks found no benefits to metabolism or body fat / composition when eating breakfast every day. So it definitely doesn’t seem to be essential for those with weight loss goals.

But what are the negative effects of skipping breakfast? They are often focused around the impact on mood (#hangry) or heart health, but studies have shown that this can be linked to breakfast consumption being an indicator of general, behaviour-related health. Researchers found that those who skipped altogether ‘were – among other traits – more likely to be obese, have high blood pressure, frequently consume alcohol, smoke, and eat high levels of red meat’.

Personally, I like to skip breakfast and save the calories for a bigger lunch and dinner later in the day. You might find food cravings easier to manage early in the morning and I find a generally lower appetite as a result of eating my first meal later in the day.

It’s also worth noting that a lot of traditional breakfast foods can be extremely high in sugar / carbs – think cereals, granola, croissants etc – and this will be a major consideration for any muscle gain / weight loss goals you have. Your diet should always be focused on total calories consumed against what is required and how you choose to use these throughout the day has little impact where it counts.

Do you skip breakfast? And what do you consider to be the most important meal of the day??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

Continue Reading

Bodybuilding Defined: Periodization, Compound, Failure & Progressive Overload

Bodybuilding Defined

We all know that feeling of sitting in on a meeting as everything said flies over your head – you know it’s English but none of the terms make sense and no one wants to be stopping every sentence to ask for an explanation.

Now, think about turning up at the gym, full of pre-workout, as your bro decides today is centred on the progressive overload stage of his periodization programme where he is focusing on compound movements but will be stopping each set just short of failure. First, you are probably going to need a new gym buddy but, before you start looking, here are the definitions you need to keep your knowledge growing alongside those muscles.

Periodization

Periodization is essentially how you organise or plan your training within a set time and towards a set goal. For example, planning a six-week block, with a weight loss goal, in the lead up to your holiday. As experience grows, you may look to divide training into blocks focused on strength / hypertrophy or with greater focus on volume / intensity.

If you need a basic programme to get you started, have a read at my Basic Push, Pull Legs Routine For Beginners.

Compound

A compound movement is one that recruits two or more muscles to complete the exercise. Some examples of compound movements are the big three; squats, deadlifts and bench press. Compound movements are primarily utilised to increase strength with isolation exercises added to increase muscle size and definition.

Failure

Training to failure involves taking a set to the point of being unable to complete the final rep. Some consider failure to be the point where perfect form is lost whereas more traditional failure is reached by utilising a weight which causes complete muscle fatigue within the usual rep-range. This method was utilised with great success by Bodybuilding legends Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates.

Progressive Overload

Progressive Overload is achieved by gradually increasing muscle stress over time. Think adding a rep or slightly increasing weight on each exercise, week on week. This forces growth by ensuring that muscles are continually adapting to increased demand. Other benefits of progressive overload include a strengthening of bones, ligaments and cartilage, alongside increased blood flow.

Now, go free and find a new gym partner. And ask them what they would like to see in future Bodybuilding Defined posts. Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

Continue Reading

Three Healthy Foods To Avoid – Part 1

Three Healthy Foods To Avoid

We all have a rough idea of what constitutes a bad food choice but things can get pretty confusing when trying to make a healthy pick. There are a whole host of ‘superfoods’ available which, on the surface, seem to be healthy options but are absolutely packed with hidden calories and sugars.

So, to help eliminate some of the misleading foods that may be sabotaging your diet, here are three healthy foods to avoid…

Fruit Juice & Smoothies

Making the ‘clean’ choice by skipping soda for fruit juice? It might not be the smart move you think. A Naked Superfood Blueberry Smoothie contains 29g of sugar per serving. Sound bad? It gets worse! They count one 750ml bottle as THREE SERVINGS(!) meaning that this ‘superfood’ clocks in at 87g of sugar. To put that into context, a bottle of Coke the same size will hit you with just under 80g.

Protein / Energy Bars

In a similar fashion to fruit juices, hidden sugar content can be a real problem with some of these bars pushing up to 20g per serving. A Peanut Power Protein Energy Bar from TREK comes in at 21.5g of sugar – compare that with a Mars bar which contains 0.7g less!

It is also worth looking for the actual protein content as some, like the Fiber One Protein bar, come in with a negligible 6g per serving.

Granola

My favourite late night snack is chocolate granola – at least it was until the day I decided to properly read the label! Each portion of Crunchy Nut Oat Granola from Kellogg’s contains 224kcal, not too bad right? Well, a serving is judged to be only 45g – dig out the scales and enjoy that moment of shock when you find out just how little that actually is. I was easily eating 4 servings at a time, bringing my evening snack in at an eye-watering 1000kcals!!

So, do any of these ‘health’ foods need removed from your shopping list? And what makes your list of healthy foods to avoid??

Hit me up with recommendations for Part 2 on Twitter or in the comments below…

Continue Reading