This month, Virgin Active’s Charley Crivari is helping you reach your fit goals. In her first post of the three part series, she gave us the low down on the importance of warming up and some upper and lower body circuits you can do at the start of your routine. In her second post, she showed us the bootcamp circuit, a great core circuit, what the fuss is with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and how cooling down properly can keep off any lost weight. Now, in the final post of the series, Charley reveals her dietary tips for boosting your body.

Fit food tips

First things first, there isn’t a best diet out there. It’s all about being realistic with what you can eat, but also trying to be healthy with your choices. I never say “have a protein shake instead of your breakfast, have these bars instead of your lunch”, because at the end of the day it’s not realistic. You aren’t always going to be able to have bars for lunch, so don’t do it. Eat real food and eat what you want in moderation.
Also, don’t always weigh yourself because your body is going to be so different depending on what you’ve drunk or eaten. Even if you’ve just drunk a lot of water, or had a heavy meal the previous night, these can put numbers on the scales, which can be disheartening. Instead, if you’re trying to measure the success of your efforts, put your favorite dress or pair of trousers on. Try it on once a week and that way you can see what progress you’re making. You could be really improving on other parts of your body, but it might not be reflected in your weight. Finally, muscle weighs more than fat, and it is harder for women to put on muscle, but if you’re working out, you will definitely lean up.

Quick-fire diet advice

  • When you are sleeping you are fasting, so you should eat breakfast every morning to kick start your metabolism. Porridge with nuts and honey is great, or you could have eggs, spinach or meat if you prefer something savory. If exercising in the morning, you must always have breakfast before.
  • Eat small and often to avoid hunger. Eat small meals five times a day. Snack on rice cakes with peanut butter, celery and carrot sticks with hummus and seeds and nuts – pumpkin seeds, for example, have a lot of iron in them.
  • For lunch stick to protein – oily fish such as salmon is great for protein and as a source of omega 3, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes and brown rice.
  • Avoid sugar and too much fruit. Limit yourself to two pieces of fruit a day because, although it is good for you, it contains a lot of natural sugars. Always go with berries as they are the lowest in sugar – blueberries, strawberries, etc. Bananas are great to eat after a hard circuit session.
  • Generally, you can eat as much green vegetables as you want. Spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans and cabbage are all really good for you and can be incorporated into all meals.
  • Complex carbohydrates are really important when training. They’re great to have in the morning, afternoon and lunchtime. In the evenings you should cut down on them, rather than eliminate them completely. In the evening you’re going to be going to bed, so you’re going to be lying down for a long time, not burning calories. By restricting the intake, your body will start to burn your fat reserves, rather than the energy from carbohydrates.
  • Food diaries are a great way to keep track of what you’re eating. Ask a personal trainer if you’re eating too much of a wrong thing and try and eliminate one bad thing each week. This way it becomes a habit and you’re more likely to succeed, rather trying to do it all in one week, finding it too difficult and just reverting back to your normal habits.
  • Foods have hidden salt content so always check the labels – beware of sauces, processed food and canned products.
  • Drink lots of water, green and lemon tea. Don’t try and eliminate caffeine, but just try to restrict it.

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